The Centre has on Friday told the Supreme Court that the country cannot be a ‘capital’ for illegal immigrants, and reserved order on a fresh plea seeking directions for the immediate release of detained Rohingya refugees in Jammu and restrain the government from implementing any order deporting them to Myanmar.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian refused to hear at this stage the intervention application filed by the United Nations special rapporteur in the matter.
“We will not hear you today. There is a serious objection to it,” the bench told the counsel appearing for the UN special rapporteur. “We are closing it for order,” added the bench.
During the arguments, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, said Rohingya children were subjected to killing, maiming, sexual exploitation, and the Military in Myanmar has failed to respect international humanitarian law.
On the other hand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said he is stating the problems which persist in Myanmar.
“There was a similar application for Assam earlier. They (petitioners) wanted that no Rohingya be deported, we had said that we will follow the law. They are illegal immigrants. We are always in touch with Myanmar and when they confirm that the individual is their citizen, then only the deportation can take place,” he said.
To this, the bench asked can it be said that the government will deport only when Myanmar accepts.
Mehta said yes, the government cannot send an Afghan national to Myanmar.
“We cannot be the capital for all illegal immigrants,” Mehta added.
Meanwhile, Bhushan referred to a verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and argued it has said that Myanmar has not presented any concrete measures aimed specifically at recognizing the rights of the Rohingyas to exist as a protected group.
He further added that Jammu and Kashmir administration has detained Rohingyas in Jammu, who have refugee cards and they will soon be deported.
“I am seeking directions to not detain and deport these Rohingyas to Myanmar under Article 21 of the Constitution,” Bhushan said.
The application filed by Mohammad Salimullah, a Rohingya refugee through advocate Prashant Bhushan, has said that it is filed in public interest in order to secure and protect the right against deportation of refugees in India.
The plea said that it is filed to protect rights guaranteed under Article 14 and Article 21, read with Article 51(c) of the Constitution, against the deportation of Rohingya refugees who have taken refuge in India after escaping widespread violence and discrimination against their community in Myanmar.
“Release the detained Rohingya refugees immediately and direct the Union Territory government and the Ministry of Home Affairs to expeditiously grant Refugee identification cards through the FRRO for Rohingyas in informal camps,” it said.
It sought direction to the Union Government to refrain from implementing any orders on deporting Rohingya refugees, who have been detained in the sub-jail in Jammu.