New Delhi Mar 26 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today reserved its order on a plea seeking directions to release and protect over 150 Rohingya refugees who have been detained in Jammu and to grant them refugee status card.
The bench of Chief Justice S.A.Bobde, Justice A.S.Bopanna and Justice V.Ramasubramanian heard the application filed by Rohingya immigrants Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir seeking protection of Rohingya refugees who came to India following persecution in Myanmar.
During the hearing, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner, submitted that the Rohingya in Jammu were refugees within the terms of United Nations Convention on Refugees.
He highlighted the order issued by the International Court of Justice and said that Rohingya were facing the genocidal threat in Myanmar. The court asserted that extreme levels of violence perpetrated against the Rohingyas on ethnic and religious grounds in Myanmar, he added.
He also submitted that the Jammu Government has detained more than thousands of Rohingya Refugees and lodged them in camps, ready to be deported. Most of them have identity cards issued by the UN Commissioner for Refugees.
Further, he sought a writ mandamus to Unions and Jammu to release Rohingyas and not deport them under Article 21 of the Constitution of India which applies to everyone, non-citizens also.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, argued that an earlier application was filed by Bhushan on Rohingyas of Assam, and now he has filed it for Jammu ones. The petitioner is the same in this case as was in Assam case of Rohingyas. We will deport them once we get the confirmation from the Myanmar Govt.
Bhushan, then referred to the principle of non-refoulement which forbids the expulsion of refugees if there is a clear and certain danger of life in the origin country. “We are party to the Genocide Convention, the only convention we are not party to the refugee convention. You cannot send a Child or a Man to a place at any place where there is a threat to his life”, he said.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing on the behalf of the Jammu and Kashmir Government, intervened, “The judgments of the International Court of Justice operate in the realm of Public International Law. Municipal laws apply in domestic Court. The Court cannot direct us to go into a convention which we have not signed. United Nation (UN) is not subject to your lordships jurisdiction. We don’t need the UN special rapporteur.”
SG Mehta argued, “Staying illegally in India is not only absolutely illegal but also a threat to nations security and there are serious ramifications. They are entering India from West Bengal and directly going to Jammu and Kashmir.
The case pertains to a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Central government to refrain from implementing any orders on deporting Rohingya refugees who have been detained in the sub-jail in Jammu, and direct UNHCR to intervene and determine the protection needed by the Rohingya refugees not just in Jammu, but also in camps across the country and complete the process of granting them refugee cards. ILNS/SNG/