SC throws out plea to restrain govt from deporting 7 Rohingya to Myanmar

A file picture of Rohingya refugees at a camp in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: AP

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an application to restrain the government from taking steps to deport seven Rohingya refugees lodged in the Silchar Central Jail in Assam to Myanmar.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph refused to intervene in a plea made by Mohammed Salimullah, speaking through advocate Prashant Bhushan, that a United Nations officer must be allowed to first talk to the seven Rohingya.


Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the men were "illegal immigrants" and negotiations were held with Myanmar to take them back.

"Mr. Bhushan, the government is saying most of them are illegal and the country of origin has accepted them..." Chief Justice Gogoi addressed the lawyer.

Mr. Bhushan argued that the men were among thousand who had fled mass killings, "unimaginable torture" and persecution in Myanmar.


"They have escaped the worst kind of genocide... they are stateless. It is wrong to say they are 'illegal immigrants' when the UN itself describes them as refugees... Let a UN officer go talk to them first... if they still want to go back, let them," Mr. Bhushan submitted.

But the CJI decided to dismiss the petition when Mr. Bhushan pointed out that it is the constitutional responsibility of the court to protect life.

We are aware of our responsibility: CJI

"Mr. Bhushan, you don't have to remind us of our responsibility... we are aware of it," the CJI retorted.

Mr. Salimullah is also the lead petitioner in a public interest litigation petition against a proposed government move in 2017 to deport over 40,000 Rohingya.

The application had quoted media reports to submit that subsequent to negotiations with the Myanmar government, the Government of India would be refouling these men to Myanmar on October 4, 2018.


The plea said Mohammad Youns, Sabbir Ahamed, Mohammad Jalal, Mohammad Salam, Mokbul Khan, Rahim Uddin and Jalal Uddin were caught by the police from the Shilchori-Nagatila area in 2012 for illegal entry, remanded in custody and detained in the Silchar Jail.

The application said the situation in Myanmar was ‘extremely dangerous” for the Rohingya to return. They may be tortured and killed.

“The violence and severe persecution that forced the Rohingya to flee Myanmar and seek asylum in India continues till date and has attracted international condemnation,” the application said.

It was because of the persecution at home, the Rohingya fled to India and other neighbouring countries in 2012 for refuge.

“The imminent refoulement of the seven men is a grave violation of the India’s international obligation to respect the customary international law principle of non-refloulement that creates an obligation on a country to not deport a person to a place where he/she may face persecution,” the application said.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 2:08:52 PM |

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