9 May 2022 3:45 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday directed that it will be open to the official of the Vikaspuri police station (in Delhi) to verify by tomorrow the availability at the address indicated of the seven Myanmarese citizens who were allowed by the Manipur High Court to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the UNHCR in May last year.The Court further ordered that If it is found that they are...
The Supreme Court on Monday directed that it will be open to the official of the Vikaspuri police station (in Delhi) to verify by tomorrow the availability at the address indicated of the seven Myanmarese citizens who were allowed by the Manipur High Court to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the UNHCR in May last year.
The Court also stayed the High Court's May 2021 judgment, if the same has not been acted upon.
The Court issued notice on the Centre's challenge to the Manipur High Court May 3, 2021 judgment ordering safe passage to New Delhi for seven Myanmarese persons to enable them to avail suitable protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Jaiswal: (Indicating the impugned order of the Manipur High court) "The High Court records that 'the prayer in this writ petition is to allow the seven named Myanmarese citizens, who entered India illegally, to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)'. That is all. Please see the relief granted in the impugned order- 'On the above analysis, this Court finds it just and proper to extend protection under Article 21 of the Constitution to these seven Myanmarese persons and grant them safe passage to New Delhi to enable them to avail suitable protection from the UNHCR. Some of them seem to be in possession of their passports but in any event, their details and particulars have been noted by the Immigration authorities of our country. There shall accordingly be a direction to the FRRO at Imphal airport to immediately provide them with temporary identification cards to enable them to travel to New Delhi by air, if such identity proofs are necessary. The State and Central Governments shall facilitate their travel to New Delhi and shall not cause any obstruction. The petitioner/party-in-person states that she will make the required arrangements for purchase of their air-tickets and would also arrange for their stay at New Delhi, pending consideration of their claims for 'refugee' status by the UNHCR. This assurance is taken on record. Further, the petitioner/party-in-person shall ensure that these seven persons approach the Officer-in-Charge of the Parliament Street Police Station or the jurisdictional Police Station at New Delhi to register their names, local addresses and whereabouts, pending consideration of their claims'"
Jaiswal: "Accordingly, I have filed affidavit. I have complied with this. But the order which is passed by your lordships is on the basis as if I have not complied"
Justice Khanwilkar: "What was mentioned before us is that these persons have entered and now they are not traceable. That we have recorded. If they are not traceable, then who is responsible to ensure? It is your petition, you became the petitioner and espoused their cause. That is the submission"
Jaiswal: "They have gone to the police station, they have given them the letter, the letter contains my telephone number, it was followed by email. I don't know who the officer is who gave the instructions that we are not traceable. The letter contains the petitioners' telephone number also. If somebody gives instructions, they must give correct instructions. It is not fair"
Jaiswal: "If it was something so irresponsible, so illegal, how did it take them one year to come here (the impugned judgment being of May, 2021). It is not like the government of India was not working in the Covid times. Hundreds of petitions were filed. They approach your lordships in April 2022 and make a statement that we are absconding?"
Justice Khanwilkar: "We will assume you have complied with all this unless it is refuted by the other side. When this petition was taken up, the submission was they are not traceable. Then It is the only petitioner who can bring them back or at least give their identity"
SG: "What happens is that India as a policy is not signatory to the refugee convention. We have no concept of any refugee. What they do is they come as illegal entrant…"
Justice Khanwilkar (to the SG): "The basic fact that was given to us is that they are not traceable. In your affidavit, have you responded to their reply?"
SG: "We received the affidavit on Friday. There is no response to that. If she has the number and the address, please give it to us. You are supposed to be having the address, you are taking the responsibility. Vikaspuri police station tells us they have never reported. And they have to register themselves with Vikaspuri police station. I have the report of the Vikaspuri police station"
Justice Khanwilkar: "There is no compliance required (in the High Court order) that they have to report periodically"
SG: "it is an open ended order"
Jaiswal: "We were given rations, we have been provides COVID jabs…We have had the second interview with UNHCR. The cards will be given in a day or two- the card as asylum seeker…"
Justice Khanwilkar: "The government of India should recognise that (the card). That is the question we need to go into. Before going into the main question, we want to understand if those persons are available or not available when they are required"
SG: "please give us the address. We will report to the court on Friday"
Jaiswal: "We will give the copy of the cards that we are getting. It has all the numbers and everything. And these people are in Delhi, and in Vikaspuri!"
Justice Khanwilkar: "Point out their address to the SG"
SG: "Let them have all seven of them report to Vikaspuri police station?"
Justice Khanwilkar: "This is another way of doing things that let the seven Myanmarese people report to Vikaspuri police station on Wednesday. We will ask you to report now (even though not originally required in the High Court orders). So the issue will now be resolved...They (the SG) will verify this address by tomorrow to see if you are available. If in the verification, it appears you are not available, then it is your responsibility to report to Vikaspuri police station on Wednesday. Then on Friday, we will take up this matter"
The bench the dictated the following order: "According to respondent no. 1, the seven persons named in the High Court order are very much available at the address mentioned in the affidavits filed by them. It will be open to the Vikaspuri police station officials to verify the availability of the seven persons at the address mentioned in the said affidavit by tomorrow. If it is found that they are not available or any one of them is not available at the given address, we direct the seven persons to report to the Vikaspuri police station on Wednesday at 11 AM. The fact that they will report to Vikaspuri police station is only for the limited purpose of reassuring that they are available within the Delhi city. They shall not be arrested or subjected to any further inquiry and would abide by the final orders that may be passed by this court. List this matter on Friday"
Click here to read/download the order