India’s Supreme Court has said it would give a final hearing in August on petitions challenging the federal government’s decision to deport illegal Rohingya immigrants back to Myanmar.
The top court also had petitions before it which support the government's stand to deport over 40,000 Rohingyas who fled to India after violence in Rakhine province of Myanmar and are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and adjoining areas and Rajasthan, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
An apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, yesterday asked the counsel for parties to submit their written submissions in the meantime.
"Pleadings are complete. Parties are required to file brief written submissions," the bench said adding that the date of final hearing would be soon declared by the Supreme Court registry.
Two Rohingya immigrants -- Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who are registered refugees under the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR), had moved the top court in 2017 challenging the Indian government’s move to deport Rohingyas on various grounds including that it violated international human right conventions.
"Proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional protection of Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) and Article 51(c) of the Constitution of India which provides equal rights and liberty to every person.
"This act would also be in contradiction with the principle of 'Non-Refoulement' which has been widely recognised as a principle of Customary International Law," the two Rohingya refugees’ plea said.
The principle of 'Non-Refoulement' prohibits countries from transferring or removing individuals from their jurisdiction when there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be at risk of irreparable harm upon return, including persecution, torture, ill-treatment or other serious human rights violations.
The plea had also sought a direction that Rohingyas be provided "basic amenities to ensure that they can live in humane conditions as required by international law".
Another petition was filed by one Jaffar Ullah alleging unhygienic situation at refugee camps in Haryana, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian government has questioned the bona fides and motives of the NGOs and individuals seeking facilities for Rohingya refugees and said there is no discrimination between Indians and outsiders in providing health and education facilities.
BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhaya, one of the petitioners, has filed the plea supporting the government's stand and said a "few NGO's are posing more threat to the unity of the country than an enemy country like Pakistan".