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SC seeks Centre's response on plea challenging Rohingya's deportation

The alleged violent attacks by Myanmarese army men on the Rohingya tribal community has led to a huge influx of around 40,000 refugees into India.

The alleged violent attacks by Myanmarese army men on the Rohingya tribal community in their country has led to the huge influx of around 40,000 refugees into India after the earlier spate of violence. The refugees have settled in different parts of the country such as Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi NCR.

In a recent proposition, Central Government had directed to the State Authorities to identify and deport all the Rohingya refugees who face persecution in Buddhist Majority Myanmar. The same has been challenged in the Supreme Court by two refugees Mohammed Salimullah and Mohammed Shaqir who are registered refugees under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (“UNHCR”) and their claim is that they escaped from Myanmar only due to violence, widespread discrimination and bloodshed against the community. This petition has UNHCR, National Human Rights Commission and Ministry of Home Affairs as respondents to the case.

Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the Appellants pleaded that the proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional provisions such as Article 21 (Right to Life and Liberty). Article 51(c) (Equal Rights and Liberty to Every Person) and not the least Article 14 which provides for Right to Equality. In addition, it would also be in contrary to the principle of ‘Non-Refoulment’, a widely accepted concept in the Customary International Law, which prohibits deportation of refugees to a country where they may face threat to their lives. The said Principal is binding on all states irrespective of the fact that they have signed the convention or not.

There was no statement made by the Additional Solicitor General in this regard.

Keeping in view the line of the events, Supreme Court refused to issue any interim stay on deportation and posted the matter for September 11, 2017. Further, SC has also sought to know the stand of the Government on whether Rohingya Muslims were a class entitled to stay in India as Refugees.

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Reviewed by:
Simran Bhullar
Published on 05-Sep-17