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Nariman, Sibal,Dhavan, Bhushan Among Top Legal Eagles Who Will Defend Rohingyas In SC

“First let us the see the legal position. It will be too early to issue notice to NHRC. We want to see if we have the jurisdiction. If yes, what kind of jurisdiction we have etc etc”: Chief Justice Dipak Misra

The batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to deport Rohigyas is set to witness a high-voltage hearing with the top legal eagles Fali S Nariman, Kapil Sibal Prashant Bhushan, Rajeev Dhavan, Ashwini Kumar and Colin Gonsalves set to argue in favour of the Rohngyas.

The Centre has so far been represented by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta only. It needs to be seen if the Centre will rope in Attorney General K K Venugopal as the temperature rises in the matter.

WHAT HAPPENED IN COUTROOM TODAY

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra deferred the hearing to October 3 for detailed consideration of the Centre’s affidavit.

At the outset, Dhavan and Bhushan urged the bench to issue notice to the NHRC but CJI Misra said first “let us the see the legal position. It will be too early to issue notice. We want to see if we have the jurisdiction..what kind of jurisdiction we have etc etc”.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has already made it cleaer that it will  oppose the government’s plans to deport 40,000-odd Rohingya Muslim refugees living illegally in the country, when the Centre submits its affidavit on the issue in the Supreme Court

The rights body plans to plead against their deportation on “humanitarian grounds’ and for fear of persecution if they are sent back.

WHO ARE THE ORIGINAL PETITIONERS

The plea was filed by two refugees Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir through Bhushan. 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.

JAMMU ROHINGYAS CRY FOUL

Taking serious exception to the statements that the Rohingyas has been radicalized, 7000 strong members of the community of 23 settlements in Jammu moved the Supreme Court denying all the allegations, challenging the move to deport them and saying that they were being targeted only because they are Muslims.

“The Petitioner states that the impugned order of the UOI dated 8.8.17 is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as the Rohingya refugees are being discriminated against when compared to the government’s treatment of Tibetans and other refugees. They have been singled out for very harsh treatment including deportation which will surely result in their execution. This is being done because they are poor and are Muslims. The Government of India has adopted a straight-forward and blatantly racist stance with regard to them”, said the petition.

“All the 7,000 Rohingyas have nothing to do with terrorism. Ever since they began residing in Jammu there has been no allegation whatsoever against them. Not a single one of them has ever engaged in any terrorist activity. The local police have for over a year conducted interrogation of all the Rohingyas and have taken full details of each family. The local police have inspected the settlements several times every month. All the Rohingyas cooperate with the police and give them all required information. There is therefore not a single terrorist in our midst”, it said.

TWO INTERVENORS

Former RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya and Chennai-based Indic Collective Trust are intervenors in the case seeking deportation of the Rohingya refugees.

Govindacharya on Friday says their continued presence “may lead to another partition of the country”.

“It has also become known that al Qaeda is trying to use the Rohingya community for terror and jihad and and if Rohingyas’ plea is entertained then it may lead to another partition of the country,” the plea said

 “Rohingyas have no constitutional right to stay in India and their deportation would be in consonance with the exercise of the sovereign power vested with the central government and their deportation does not violate the international law,” it said.

The Indic Collective Trust has stated that their presence posed “social, economic and security” threat to India and that Myanmar should be pressured to resolve the crisis within its borders. “Rohingya conflict is undeniably a massive humanitarian disaster and even United Nation officials have taken note of it. But such cataclysms although irremediable are best addressed locally within the home state i.e. Myanmar, by way of exerting international pressure or by working out a roadmap with the Burmese government or by sending shiploads of aid and so on, and on the other hand, India cannot solve this crisis by importing and welcoming it…”, the application filed by Indic Collective Trust through Advocate Suvidutt Sundaram and J Sai Deepak said.

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