SC Regarding Rohingya Case - It Was Dealing Such Case For 1st Time

SC Regarding Rohingya Case Said It Was Dealing Such Case For 1st Time

Referring to diametrically opposite views on the stay of Rohingya Muslims in India, the Supreme Court admitted on Tuesday that it was dealing with “a case of such nature for the first time”.

The chasm between the stands of additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta for the government on one side and an impressive line-up of advocates — Fali S Nariman, Prashant Bhushan, Colin Gonsalves, Salman Khurshid (all for Rohingyas), Kalyan Banerjee (West Bengal government) and Rajeev Dhavan (National Human Rights Commission) — on the other was so stark that it boiled down to seasoned lawyers making personal comments.

It started with Dhavan making light of Mehta’s arguments by saying, “The Centre does not understand the concept of refugees at all.”

A bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud stepped in quickly to quell the volatility and said, “We do not like personal comments being made by counsel. We will not allow this. We will deal with issues squarely arising from the case — whether or not the SC can go into the correctness of the Centre’s decision on Rohingya and other contours of the issue.” The SC will hear the case on October 13.

With the NHRC and the Centre pitted against each other, Nariman lightened the moment by saying, “I am the original refugee from Burma (Myanmar). I had migrated from British Burma to British India (during World War II after the Japanese invasion).” Nariman went on to point out how the NDA government had framed a compassionate policy towards refugees in September 2015, contemplating long-term stay permits for them.

“What came over the government and minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju I don’t know. But the August 8 directive to all states to identify Rohingya Muslims for deportation was shocking to say the least. That too after India in many forums had advocated sharing of the burden of refugees by all countries. To aggravate the mistake, the Centre is taking a stand that its decision to identify and deport Rohingya Muslims could not be adjudicated by the Supreme Court. This is unacceptable in a country governed by rule of law,” he said.

 The Centre reiterated its stand that the SC may not go into the legality of the decision on Rohingyas. It said, “The considerations, including diplomatic considerations, internal security considerations, potential demographic changes, possibility of law and order, sharing of national resources, sustainability of an additional burden on the resources of the country etc are some of the considerations which are kept in mind by the executive which the SC should not go into.
“The comparison between factors which went into consideration of the administrative decision making culminating into the notifications dated September 7, 2015 and July 18, 2016 cannot be compared with the decision with respect to Rohingyas who are about 40,000 approximately in number, having other options and most disturbingly the continuing of a systematic influx of illegal immigrants in an organised manner into India through agents and touts,” the Centre’s affidavit said.

“The central government has contemporaneous inputs from security agencies and other authentic material indicating linkages of some of the unauthorised Rohingya immigrants with Pakistan-based and other terror organisations.”

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