An Update from the Supreme Court Hearings on the Deportation of Rohingyas

The Rohingya matter came on board yesterday before the court of CJI Dipak Misra. The bench also comprised of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y.Chandrachud. Court held as follows:

  • The Counsel for the respondent stated that there were 2 preliminary objections to be considered before hearing the matter:

    • Firstly, the question of judicial review ought to be considered;
    • Secondly, the locus of the petitioner
  • Senior Advocate Fali Nariman appearing on behalf of the petitioners referred to the affidavit filed by the Union of India and stated that the State is making serious allegations that these refugees are terrorists and it would not be justiciable because Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens will be affected. At this point, counsel for the respondent took the stance that not all refugees could be deemed terrorists.
  • Senior Advocate Nariman then submitted that the issue therefore is justiciability. He stated that our Constitution does not recognise group rights but it does recognise individual rights. We have a new concept of refugees and in the past GOI has supported all acts of asylum and advocated for the rights of seeking an asylum in a different country. He submitted that there are guidelines which state that foreigners can’t be deported without specific reasons. He further submitted that India’s stand in International forums have generally been supportive of refugees and India has agreed with the principles of non-refoulement as recently as on July 2017.
  • CJI Misra identified three central issues arising in this case:

    • Firstly, issue with respect to human rights of the Rohingya community emerge;
    • Secondly, issue of justiciability doesn’t arise;
    • Thirdly, India is a signatory to other multi-lateral agreements which note India doesn’t intend to dilute the principle of non-refoulement.
  • CJI further stated that with the concern for Rohingya women and children, India should live up to its commitment and should take adequate steps.
  • Court directed the Centre and petitioners to compile documents on international conventions for assisting the Court.

Next date of hearing in this matter is October 13, 2017.