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Helpless Immigrants Detained In Jail Amid Lack Of Detention Centres: Karnataka Legal Services Authority Moves High Court, Notice Issued

Mustafa Plumber
2 Aug 2022 7:15 AM GMT
Helpless Immigrants Detained In Jail Amid Lack Of Detention Centres: Karnataka Legal Services Authority Moves High Court, Notice Issued
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The Karnataka High Court on Monday issued notice to the Union of India, and other respondents on a petition filed by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority seeking directions to take immediate steps for setting up sufficient number of Detention Centres with all basic amenities in the state for the detention of the illegal immigrants awaiting deportation. A...

The Karnataka High Court on Monday issued notice to the Union of India, and other respondents on a petition filed by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority seeking directions to take immediate steps for setting up sufficient number of Detention Centres with all basic amenities in the state for the detention of the illegal immigrants awaiting deportation.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty issued the notice. The plea also seeks a direction to Respondent No.1 and 3 to take immediate steps for deportation of the illegal immigrants in the State, within the time limit that may be fixed by the Court.

It is said in the petition that on 09-09-2021 around 38 Sri Lankan citizens were apprehended in Mangalore without valid documents. They were promised to be taken to Canada and payments were made by them and their family members to the concerned agents for processing and facilitating their movements to Canada. A case was registered for the offences punishable under Sections 120B, 370, 420 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, 14 of Foreigners Act, 1946, Section 12(1A) of Passport Act 1967.

The investigation in the case was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency. After investigation a final report came to be filed in the case on September 5, 2021. Investigation revealed that 38 Sri Lankan citizens, who were initially arrayed as the accused in the FIR and who were detained in the Bangalore Central Jail, were actually the victims of human trafficking and hence are treated as witnesses in the case.

The IO requested the Government to deport the Sri Lankan citizens to their County and that they be lodged in the Foreigners Detention Centre, Nelamangala, Bangalore till their deportation. The trial court also directed the investigation officer to shift the said 38 Sri Lankan citizens to deportation centre, vide order dated 30-10-2021.

However, the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer/FRRO, Bangalore has sent a letter dated 14-09-2021 to the trial court stating that the said centre can accommodate only 35 persons and that there are already 27 persons lodged in the said centre and that he is unable to accommodate 38 Sri Lankan citizens. In view of the same all 38 Sri Lankan citizens are continued to be detained in Bangalore central jail.

Further the plea says, on 12-05-2022, the Member Secretary District Legal Service Authority sent the report to the Karnataka State Legal Service Authority/Petitioner about his visit to the central jail on 11-05-2022. Despite the order passed by the trial court judge the detention centres have not been set up by the Deputy Commissioner/Respondent No.5, till date, all 38 victims are continued to be detained in jail. Thus the concerned authorities have failed in their statutory duty in complying with the Court order of setting up the detention centre.

It is said ,

"Detention of 38 Sri Lankan citizens in the jail is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional, the rights of those persons are being violated which are guaranteed by the Constitution of India."

Further it is said "It is the responsibility of the Central and the State Government to set up the detention centres for the helpless immigrants by making necessary arrangements towards making available the basic necessities of food, water and shelter towards the immigrant victims. Continuation of the detention of the Sri Lankan nationals in the jail without setting up of the detention centres is not proper."

Case Title: Karnataka State Legal Services Authority v  Union of India & Others

Case NO: WP 12862/2022

Appearance: CGSC Madhukar Deshpande for R1; AGA for R3 To R5

Related Read: Keep Illegal Migrants In Foreigners Detention Centres Even After Grant Of Bail : Karnataka HC Issues Guidelines

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