Supreme Court reserves order on a plea seeking release of Rohingya refugees detained in Jammu

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Public Interest Litigation in order to secure and protect the rights against deportation of refugees in India.

The Supreme Court reserved verdict on a fresh plea seeking immediate release of detained Rohingya refugees in Jammu and restrain the centre from implementing any order deporting them to Myanmar.  A bench of Chief Justice after hearing detailed arguments on the plea said “we are closing it for order”.

During the hearing the petitioner said Rohingya children were subjected to killing, maiming and sexual exploitation and Military in Myanmar has failed to respect international humanitarian law.

The plea sought direction to Ministry of Home Affairs to expeditiously grant refugee identification cards through the Regional Registration office for Rohingyas in informal camps. The plea said that it is to protect rights guaranteed under Article 14, Article 21, and Article 51(c) of the Constitution of India, against the deportation of Rohingya refugees who have taken refuge in India after escaping widespread violence and discrimination against their community in Myanmar.

Release the detained Rohingya refugees immediately and direct the Union Territory government and the Ministry of Home Affairs to expedification cards through the FRRO for Rohingyas in informal camps, It sought directed to the Union Government to refrain from implementing any orders on deporting Rohingya refugees, who have been detained in the sub jail in Jammu.

About 40,000 Rohingya, who face persecution in Buddhist- majority  Myanmar, had crossed- the borders into India after military- led crackdown in 2017. Several million have been displaced and live in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Many Rohingya refugees live in camps and slums in cities and regions across India including Jammu and Kashmir. Violent attacks allegedly by Myanmar army men have led to an exodus of Rohingya tribals from the western Rakhine state in that country to India and Bangladesh. Many of them , who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence , have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan. Only some them are registered with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, which was pass by parliament in 2019, provides a pathway to Indian Citizenship for Persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians. However, Rohingya who are Muslims, are not eligible to seek Indian Citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Supreme Court in context of refugees has also reaffirmed that Article 21 of our Constitution guarantees that right to life and liberty is granted to every citizen or non citizen, through its judgement in the case National Human Rights commission V/S State of Arunachal Pradesh where it observed that : Our Constitution confers certain rights on every human being and certain other rights on citizen, Every person is entitled to equality before the law and equal protection of the laws. So also no person can be deprived of his life or personal liberty of every human being, be he a citizen or otherwise.