Supreme Court appoints nodal officers for Rohingya children

Nowhere people: Rohingya at a temporary shelter after a fire gutted a camp in New Delhi on April 15.  

The Supreme Court on Friday designated the sub-divisional magistrates of Mewat district in Haryana and areas in Delhi where Rohingya camps are located to act as nodal officers for the welfare of refugee children.

A Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said Rohingya parents or relatives could approach the nodal officers with grievances about the lack of access to health and education of their children.

The court agreed that it would examine contentions raised by Rohingya, represented by Colin Gonsalves, Ashwini Kumar and Rajeev Dhavan and Prashant Bhushan, that basic amenities were denied to Rohingya living in the camps as they did not have any identification.

The court said it would examine if amenities such as drinking water were proportional to the population in these camps and whether they were adequate.

Additional Solicitors-General Tushar Mehta and Maninder Singh, for the government, countered that Rohingya in the camps were getting the same treatment and facilities as Indian citizens living nearby. The government produced a field report.

Court’s concern

“We are concerned with benefits which provide them with basic human dignity,” Chief Justice Misra observed.

The fundamental right to basic amenities and a dignified life cannot be confined to Rohingyas alone but has to extend to their Indian neighbours living in the same slum. The Supreme Court cannot shine the spotlight solely on Rohingya refugee camps without doing anything for the poor living conditions of Indian citizens in slums, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, had remarked, in an earlier hearing.

Mr. Dhavan, however, contended that human rights and the right to live with dignity was equally sacred for Indian citizens and Rohingya refugees.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 9:21:47 PM |

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