The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea seeking the release of over 150 Rohingya refugees who were detained earlier this month and sent to a holding centre in Jammu after they were found to be without valid documents, the Hindustan Times reported. The plea seeking directions to restrain the Centre from deporting them to Myanmar will be heard on March 25.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to provide the Centre’s response on the matter.
Earlier in March, the refugees were sent to the Hiranagar sub-jail under provisions of Section 3(2)e of the Foreigners Act. The police took the action after Jammu and Kashmir administration collected biometric details of the refugees during a verification process.
Following this, one of the Rohingya refugees, Mohammed Salimullah filed the petition through advocate Prashant Bhushan, saying that they had been “illegally detained and jailed”, The Indian Express reported.
Apart from the release of the refugees, the plea sought directions to the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Union home ministry to grant them refugee identification cards, according to Live Law. It also asked the court to issue directions to the Centre to refrain from implementing any orders on deporting them. It further sought directions to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to intervene in the matter.
The plea, heard on Thursday, was an interim one in a pending writ petition before the Supreme Court that was filed to seek protection against deportation and of rights of Rohingya refugees, according to Live Law.
During the proceedings, Bhushan sought an urgent hearing in the case, citing the recent military coup in Myanmar, the Hindustan Times reported. “There is a military government in Myanmar now,” Bhushan said. “Their life is under threat.”
However, Solicitor General Mehta said that the submissions made in the plea were factually incorrect and said that the Indian government will respond.