SC reserves verdict on plea for immediate release of Rohingya refugees in Jammu

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday reserved verdict on a fresh plea seeking immediate release of detained Rohingya refugees in Jammu and restrain the Centre from implementing any order deporting them to Myanmar.

A bench of Chief Justice Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian after hearing detailed arguments on the plea said: “We are closing it for order”.

During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, said Rohingya children were subjected to killing, maiming and sexual exploitation and Military in Myanmar has failed to respect international humanitarian law.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said he is showing the problems which persists in Myanmar.

Bhushan referred to verdict of International Court of Justice and said that it has said that Myanmar has not presented any concrete measures aimed specifically at recognising the rights of the Rohingyas to exist as a protected group.

He said 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.

Mehta said they are not refugees at all and this is the second round of litigation as this court had earlier dismissed an application filed by the petitioner, who is also a Rohinga.

“There was a similar application for Assam earlier.

They (petitioners) wanted that no Rohingya to 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, and then only deportation can take place”, he said.

The bench said that can it be said that you (Centre) will deport only when Myanmar accepts.

Mehta said yes, the government cannot send an Afghan national to Myanmar.

The bench said that it is closing the matter for orders.

On March 11, an interim plea was filed in a pending PIL, seeking immediate release of detained Rohingya refugees in Jammu, and sought restrain orders from the court to the Centre from deporting them.

The plea also sought direction to Ministry of Home Affairs to expeditiously grant refugee identification cards through the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) for Rohingyas in informal camps.

The application filed by Mohammad Salimullah, a Rohingya refugee through advocate Bhushan, 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© 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.

Violent attacks allegedly by Myanmar army men have led to an exodus of Rohingya tribals from the western Rakhine state in that country to India and Bangladesh. Many of them, who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan. (PTI)

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