New Delhi: The Centre on Monday refused to give any undertaking in the Supreme Court that it would not deport 40,000 Rohingya Muslims, who had taken refuge in India, to Myanmar on the ground that they are illegal immigrants.
Even as a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud asked additional solicitor-general Tushar Mehta for the Centre to take instructions and posted the matter for further hearing on September 11, counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for Mohammed Salimullah and others pleaded for stay of deportation in the meanwhile. But the ASG said, “I will not make any such statement.”
The CJI without passing any order told Mr Bhushan “We shall see on September 11.”
The petitioners said they are seeking apex court intervention to secure and protect their right against deportation, in keeping with the Constitutional guarantees under Article 14 and Article 21, read with Article 51(c) of the Constitution, which protects against arbitrary deportation.
The petition said Rohingya refugees had taken refuge in India after escaping their home country Myanmar due to the widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against this community in their home state. The petitioners have been registered and recognised by the UNHCR in India in 2016 and have been granted refugee I-cards.
It was submitted that recently the Union minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, told parliament that the central government had directed state authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants including Rohingya, who face persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
An estimated 40,000 Rohingya are living in India and like the Petitioners many others, are even registered with the UN refugee agency in India.
The petitioners submitted that they escaped their home country of Myanmar as a result of the violent and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya Community there and according to various news reports, such discrimination still continued unabated. Many from the Rohingya community fled their home country of Myanmar because of grave threat to their lives, and sought refuge in India. Their return would expose them to a serious threat of severe bodily harm, the petition said and sought stay of their deportation.