A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, will on October 13 hear petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to identify and deport Rohingya refugees in India, PTI reported.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, on Tuesday said that it will hear the arguments only on points of law. It asked both parties – the Centre and the two Rohingya Muslim refugees who filed the petition – to compile documents and international conventions to assist the court. The bench told the two parties to not make emotional arguments, as the matter was about a “humanitarian cause and humanity, which required to be heard with mutual respect”.
The bench will also hear in detail the government’s stand that the refugees’ petition was not justiciable, or subject to trial, in a court of law. On Tuesday, senior advocate Fali S Nariman who is appearing for the Rohingya refugees, opposed this stand of the government’s. He said the petition, under Article 32, provided people the right to Constitutional remedies. This means any person has the right to move court for the protection of fundamental rights.
In August, the Indian government announced it was planning to deport all 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees living in the country. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had said the Rohingyas were illegal immigrants. On September 18, the Centre told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the continued illegal immigration of Rohingyas to India had “serious national security ramifications and threats”. It said inputs from security agencies indicated that some of the refugees had links with terror groups in Pakistan. The Centre requested the Supreme Court to allow the government to handle the case of their deportation and not interfere in the matter.
The Centre’s plea was in response to a PIL filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who said they had taken refuge in India after escaping discrimination, violence and bloodshed against their community in Myanmar.