SC Allows Rohingya Deportation; Says Due Process Should Be Followed

SC verdict came on a plea seeking release and stalling of deportation of at least 150 Rohingyas lodged in Jammu.

The Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking the release and stalling of the deportation of at least 150 Rohingya refugees detained in a sub-jail in Jammu. However, Rohingyas shall not be deported unless the due procedure is followed, the bench led by Chief Justice Of India SA Bobde said.

The plea was filed by Mohammad Salimullah who sought the release and stall in the deportation of the 150 Rohingyas.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is representing Salimullah, relied on the principle of "non-refoulement" which bars the expulsion of a refugee to the country of his origin if there is a clear case of danger to his life there.

On February 1, the Tatmadaw—Myanmar's military seized control of the parliament in a coup overthrowing Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party which won the elections by a landslide. Rohingyas, who are a minority in Myanmar, face persecution there.

The Centre was opposed to the court's intervention emphasizing that India cannot become "the international capital of illegal immigrants". The Home Ministry submitted that the Rohingyas were "absolutely illegal immigrants" who posed "serious threats to the national security". The Centre further contended that Article 21—the right to life and liberty—was not applicable to illegal immigrants and they could not assert their right to live here.

On March 6, the Home Ministry directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to start a verification drive of the Rohingyas and transferred some of them to a holding Centre pending their potential deportation.

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