SC Directs Centre & States To File Reports About Conditions In Rohingya Camps After Site Visits

SC Directs Centre & States To File Reports About Conditions In Rohingya Camps After Site Visits

In a 2013 PIL concerning the living conditions of the refugee Rohingya Muslims residing in makeshift camps in Delhi and Haryana, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice A. M. Khanwilkar on Monday directed the respective governments to file a comprehensive status report “based on facts and proper site visits” within two weeks.

Senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, urged, “the PIL has been pending since 2013. The camp residents are living without toilets and drinking water...children are falling prey to diarrhea...schools and hospitals are also not admitting these people...”

 “There are video recordings of the camps...Your Lordships may send persons to examine the camps...people are living in the filthiest conditions...let NALSA visit the camps and have a look...”, he continued.

Advocate Madhavi Diwan insisted that the bench avail the benefit of its decision in another string of similar writ petitions which are also scheduled for hearing on Monday.

The present writ petition is relating to serious violations of the right to life, maternal health, the right to health, and the right to basic human dignity of women and families from Myanmar who has suffered persecution, violence, and displacement and now live in deplorable conditions in makeshift camps in Kalindi Kunj, New Delhi and Salheri Village, Mewat District, Haryana etc. Women deliver babies in squalid conditions with no hope of properly feeding, educating, or securing the lives of their children. There are almost 150 Rohingya refugee families in these camps who do not have access to basic medical care, maternal health care, pediatric care, or sources of clean water, nutritious food, or secure shelters.

The petitioners have prayed for inter alia permission to camp residents to stay on the land in Delhi and Haryana; Medical care (including nutrition and vaccination) of the pregnant and lactating women and infants under the National Rural Health Mission; directions to the Government Medical College, Nuh, Haryana and public health facilities in Delhi to provide free medical treatment to the camp residents; and directions for enrolment of children in the nearest public schools as per Right to Education Act of 2009.

The petitioners have relied on the Supreme Court judgments in Human Rights Commission v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1996), Consumer Education and Research Centre v. UOI (1995) and Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti (1996). Reference has also been made to the provisions of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Child.