Centre asked the Supreme Court not to intervene in the executive decision on deportation of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.
New Delhi: Making it clear that India cannot be allowed to become the refugee capital of the world, the Centre on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court not to intervene in the executive decision on deportation of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta made this submission before a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Kanwilkar and DY Chandrachud while hearing a batch of petitions seeking to restrain India from deporting 40,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar.
Counsel Prashant Bhushan had filed a fresh application for a direction to permit the remaining Rohingya refugees to cross over the border and enter India as the Border Security Force (BSF) is thwarting their entry. The court asked the Centre to file its response on this application.
At the outset the ASG said, “We do not want India to become the refugee capital of the world. If we allow people from every other country will flood our country. The government is in diplomatic talks and it must be allowed to take a decision. There was no contingency as of now and this was not a matter for the court to intervene. This is not a matter in which we can show any leniency.”
Prashant Bhushan told the court that the remaining 20 per cent of the Rohingya refugees too should be allowed to enter India. He complained that the BSF was preventing them from crossing over the border by sprinkling chilli powder.
Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), told the court that he agreed with what the ASG was saying.
However, he said that the NHRC was only concerned with the Rohingyas present in the country and had no instructions regarding others.
Bhushan pointed out that Rohingya refugees in camps in India live in abject poverty and squalor.
"The conditions are inhuman. There is no access to either schools or hospitals," he said.
Justice Chandrachud observed that the court did acknowledge the humanitarian aspects in Bhushan's submissions, but asked if judicial standards of India, which applied to refugees already living on Indian soil, also apply to those attempting to enter the country"
The Judge said, “If somebody comes to your border and says 'I am a refugee’, it has to be determined whether he is a refugee or not. He cannot be blindly pushed back, then what is the commitment of India to refugee determination. Several high courts have upheld the right to refugee determination. Let the government deal with it diplomatically, but this court should also decide on its own.”
The bench will further hear the case on March 7.