The Supreme Court Thursday agreed to list for hearing a PIL seeking direction to the Centre and others to detect, detain and deport illegal immigrants including Rohingyas and Bangladesh nationals while expressing dismay as to why it should hear matters related to the functioning of the political executive.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana told lawyer petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay that it would hear his PIL on the issue if the Centre, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, has filed the reply.
At outset, Mr. Upadhyay said that the plea seeks detection, detention, and deportation of illegal immigrants who, as per estimation, are five crores in numbers and taking away the right to livelihood of citizens.
“I have to hear your case every day. The problems under the sun... all problems, parliament, members’ issue, nomination issue, election reforms. These all are political issues. You go to the government and you fight with the government and seek resolution,” said the bench which also comprised justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli.
Few State governments are providing free houses to these illegal immigrants, Mr. Upadhyay said.
“I agree all your matters should be taken up and the orders which you sought have to be passed. I am sorry, I cannot use the words. But the issue is for what purpose they (elected representatives) are there in Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha,” the CJI remarked.
On being told that the apex court had issued notices on the PIL in March last year, the bench said that it would hear the matter if the reply has been filed by the Centre.
Mr. Upadhyay, in the PIL, has alleged large-scale illegal immigrants, particularly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have not only threatened the demographic structure of bordering districts but have seriously impaired security and national integration.
The plea said the Law Commission in its 175th report on September 21, 2000, on the Foreigners (Amendment) Bill, 2000 has also noted that the entry of illegal immigrants and other undesirable aliens into India posed a grave threat to democracy and the security of India, especially for the eastern part of the country and Jammu and Kashmir.
"Demographic composition in the country, particularly the bordering districts has altered with illegal immigration from Myanmar and Bangladesh. The bordering districts of Assam, West Bengal Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura have recorded a growth of population higher than the national average. Illegal immigrants have been using West Bengal as a corridor to migrate to other parts," the plea said.
Mr. Upadhyay has also asked the court to direct the Central and State governments to declare the making of forged or fabricated PAN, Aadhaar cards, Passport, Ration, Voter Cards, and such other documents, non-bailable, non-compoundable.
A separate PIL was also filed earlier by Mohammad Salimullah, a Rohingya refugee through advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking protection of the right of Rohingyas against their deportation to Myanmar.
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.