Supreme Court dismisses petition to stop deportation of Rohingyas from Jammu Kashmir
New Delhi/IBNS: The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking the release of 150 Rohingya refugees locked in a Jammu sub-jail and the stalling of deportation, said media reports.
However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde added the condition that the refugees must go through proper identification and acknowledgment of their citizenship by the Myanmar government, said an HT report.
“No Rohingya from Jammu will be deported without the procedure to be followed in such cases,” said the bench that included justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, the report quoted.
The Centre had opposed Mohammad Salimullah's petition asserting that India cannot become “the international capital of illegal immigrants”.
It called Rohingyas “absolutely illegal immigrants” who posed “serious threats to national security”.
The government contended that the illegal immigrants couldn't claim the right to settle in India under the garb of the Constitution’s Article 21, which guarantees the right to life and liberty, it stated.
The Union Home Ministry had ordered the Jammu & Kashmir administration to conduct an identification drive on March 6.
There are at least 7,000 Rohingyas in Jammu and Kashmir and their numbers have increased over the years as they fled Myanmar since the late 2000s.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the court on March 26 that a similar petition from Assam to stop the deportation of Rohingyas had been dismissed by the apex court in 2018.
Representing the Jammu & Kashmir administration, senior advocate Harish Salve also cautioned the court against starting a dangerous trend by interfering into a subject that has to do with illegal immigrants and diplomatic relations with another country, the HT report said.
Salimullah's lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a January 2020 judgment had emphasised the oppression faced by the Rohingya in Myanmar.
According to the HT report, the Centre in its affidavit said, “The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that India as a sovereign nation, has the first and foremost Constitutional obligation and duty towards its citizens and to ensure that the demographic and social structure of the country is not changed to its detriment, the resulting socio-economic problems do not occur to the prejudice of the citizens and the resources of the nation are utilised to fulfil the fundamental rights of its own citizens and are not diverted to the detriment of the citizens, due to influx of illegal migrants into the territory of India."