The Supreme Court on Tuesday again deferred the hearing of a petition filed by two Rohingya Muslim immigrants, challenging the Centre’s decision to identify and deport refugees of the community to Myanmar. The court will now hear the matter on January 31, ANI reported.

At the last hearing on October 13, the court had said that no Rohingya refugee should be deported till the next hearing in the case, which it scheduled for November 21 but later deferred to December 5.

The court had then said the government needs to strike a balance between national security and protecting the human rights of the refugees. This was in response to the government’s defence that the Rohingyas were a threat to national security.

The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, held that the Centre cannot be oblivious to the plight of innocent women and children.

In August, the government had announced that it was planning to deport all 40,000 Rohingya refugees living in the country. On September 18, the government told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the continued illegal immigration of Rohingyas to India had “serious national security ramifications and threats”. It claimed that inputs from security agencies indicated that some of the refugees had links with terror groups in Pakistan.

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.