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No Proper Response To The Queries By Court: Patna High Court Warns Contempt Action Against Union Home Ministry Officials

Nupur Thapliyal
9 May 2021 7:02 AM GMT
No Proper Response To The Queries By Court: Patna High Court Warns Contempt Action Against Union Home Ministry Officials
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" It is also made clear that the Court may initiate a contempt proceeding against those who would be found in not cooperating the court proceeding."

Observing that it is the duty of the Home Ministry to give a proper response on the query of the Court that how foreign nationals are being treated and handled by it, the Patna High Court recently warned contempt proceedings against the officials who are not responsive to the aforesaid query and are found not cooperating with the court proceeding. A division bench comprising of Justice...

Observing that it is the duty of the Home Ministry to give a proper response on the query of the Court that how foreign nationals are being treated and handled by it, the Patna High Court recently warned contempt proceedings against the officials who are not responsive to the aforesaid query and are found not cooperating with the court proceeding.

A division bench comprising of Justice Shivaji Pandey and Justice Partha Sarthy also asked the Government of India to ensure that the said department must be responsive to the Court's query and that the Home Ministry must give instructions in a proper manner so that the counsel is able to file a proper affidavit in this regard.

Dealing with the issue of human rights concerns of two women Bangladeshi migrants in the State, the High Court had last month directed the Union of India to file an affidavit giving details of the present status of repatriation to their native place and also addressing the issue of illegal migrants wherein the native country is not ready to accept their respective citizen.

"It is very unfortunate that the Union of India comprises all the Departments, including Ministry of External affairs and Ministry of Home affairs. It is the duty of the Home Ministry to give a proper response to the query made by this Court with respect to the fact how the similarly situated foreign national are being treated and handled by the Home Ministry. In failure to give response to counsel will be treated to be violation of the order of this Court." The Court ordered.

The development came after the Court was apprised by the Centre that the official of the Home Ministry was "not responsive" to the query of the Court.

Expressing its dissatisfaction, the Court ordered thus:

"At this stage, this Court is not initiating a contempt proceeding against those official who are not responsive to the query of the Court. It is also made clear that the Court may initiate a contempt proceeding against those who would be found in not cooperating the court proceeding."

Observing that it was a "serious matter that Bangladeshi women were kept inside Nari Niketan (After Care Home) and not in a detention centre", the Court directed the Union of India to file a detailed affidavit with respect to creation of detention centre for foreign national in Bihar.

The High Court was hearing a petition concerning two women Bangladeshi migrants namely Marium Khatoon and Mausmi Khatoon arrested from the Patna Railway Station, kept in an "After Care Home" for the past many years. However, no criminal case was registered against them.

During the previous course of hearing, the High Court had constituted a three lawyers team tasked to visit the After Care Home, interact with the Bangladeshi women and submit a report in sealed cover describing the manner in which Bangladeshi Migrants were being kept there.

The report submitted in the Court stated that the migrants were kept in a proper manner and have not made any complaint to the members of the Committee.

However, on the status of creation of detention centre in the State, the Court expressed its dissatisfaction on the response of the State Government submitting that as the migrants were kept separately in the jail premises, the same should be treated as a detention centre and that an effort of creating a detention centre was being done inside Beur Jail.

Directing the State to file a proper affidavit on the creation of detention centre, the Court observed thus:

"Detention Centre cannot be created inside the jail premises, rather it should be created in terms of the instruction given by the Central Government giving detail the manner the State has to create Detention Centre, so it is primary duty to create Detention Centre with that terms."

Title: Marium Khatoon v. The State of Bihar, through the Principal Secretary Home (Police), Patna, Bihar

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