Seeking the Centre’s response on the issue, the Supreme Court today said it would on September 11give urgent hearing to the petition challenging the proposed decision to deport 40,000 Rohingya Muslims, who have taken refuge in India to escape persecution in Myanmar.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud directed noted lawyer and human rights activist Prashant Bhushan who is appearing for the Rohingya community to give a copy of his petition to the centre.
The report of the Centre has been sought as to what its stand was on whether Rohingya Muslims were a class entitled to stay in India as Refugees
The bench however refused issue any interim stay on deportation. When Bhushan said the court needed to ensure that no coercive steps shall be taken against the Rohingya refugees till the next date of hearing, that is Monday, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta merely said “I am not making any statement”
The plea was filed by two refugees Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir. The petition has the ministry of home affairs, National Human Rights Commissions and United Nations High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR) as respondents.
The Petition relies on a Reuters report dated 14 August, 2017, which had revealed that the Central Government had directed the State authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants including Rohingya, who face persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Currently, around 40,000 refugees are said to be residing in India.
The Petitioners contend that the proposed deportation is contrary to Articles 14, 21 and 51(c) of the Constitution of India. They further allege violation of the principle of ‘Non-Refoulement’, that prohibits the deportation of refugees to a country where they face threat to their life.
“…this principle in International law would extend protection to the lives of the petitioners and other members from the Rohingya community who have fled the bloodshed, persecution and violence they have faced in Myanmar and would prevent India from deporting them,” the Petition explains.