Thursday, 19 October, 2017

Indian SC halts Rohingya deportation till 21 Nov

Supreme Court to hear Rohingya refugees' PIL challenging deportation Don't deport Rohingya refugees, human rights must be kept in mind, says Supreme Court
Melinda Barton | 13 October, 2017, 15:47

The Supreme Court today observed that no Rohingya refugees should be deported until the next date of hearing in the case.

In the matter, the Senior Advocate, Prashant Bhushan, appearing from the petitioner side, said "the court has ordered the government not to deport any Rohingya Muslims till it decides on the matter. The role of the state has to be multi-pronged and must be humanitarian", Chief Justice Misra observed.

"The national importance can not be secondary and at the same time human rights of Rohingyas should be kept in mind", said the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

After the Centre's plea, the court did not pass such an order but said that in case any such deportation is done in the meantime, the petitioners would be at liberty to approach the court seeking a relief.

During the brief hearing, the bench suggested to the Centre not to deport the Rohingya Muslim refugees, but Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta requested that it should not be written in the order as anything coming on record will have an worldwide ramification.

The top court also said, 'We have to strike a balance.

The bench said the whole issue of Rohingya Muslims has to be looked at from various angles like national security, economic interest, labour interest and also the protection of children, women, sick and innocent persons.

Till then the court has ordered status quo in the issue. "The issue involves human rights of many", the top court said in its observation.

Close to 40,000 Rohingya Muslims live in India after fleeing Myanmar over the past decade.

A Rohingya petitioner had on September 23 told the top court that they were not illegal immigrants but refugees who fled Myanmar and came to India for shelter in wake of their persecution on the grounds of their religion and community identity and were entitled to all protection under the worldwide conventions on refugees and treaties.

The Indian government also fears that militant groups can influence Rohingyas and use them anti-national activities.

The United Nations refugee agency has about 16,000 people registered with them but the government told parliament recently that there could be three times as many. The petition argues that deportation would violate their human rights.