SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue

The Supreme Court came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country’s national security and economic interests.

The hearing of the case:

  • The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees.
  • A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”.
  • With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in case of “any contingency”.

View point of Chief Justice of India:

  • “Take action wherever you find wrong, but do not deport now,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra initially told Additional Solicitor, appearing for the Centre.
  • Chief Justice pointed out that the Constitution is a protector of human rights, especially of children, women, the sick, the infirm and the innocent.

Mr.Fali Nariman’s View Point:

  • Senior advocate Fali Nariman, arguing for the Rohingya, said, “In case of any difficulty, we will come here.” But Mr. Mehta objected, asking the court why the question of deportation should come up for debate at this stage.
  • In his submissions, Mr. Nariman shortly argued that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution has been expanded to include any “persons” and not just citizens.
  • There are different types of foreigners. There are those who need protection. A person should not be deprived of his personal liberty.
  • The concept of human rights is statutorily recognised and defined in the Protection of Human Rights of 1993.
  • Human rights has thus become essentially justiciable with its inclusion under as a law as defined under Article 13 of the Constitution.

The Govt. Stand:

  • The government said “questions pertaining to deportation of illegal immigrants is essentially an executive function.”
  • It maintained that “questions regarding illegal migrants need to be examined keeping in mind diplomatic considerations, internal security situations, demographic changes in the country and such other administrative and diplomatic factors which are better left to policy making by the executives.”

Way Ahead:

  • The court said the approach of the government should be “multi-pronged.”
  • It should consider both the humanitarian spectrum as well as concerns over national security and economic interests.
  • National security and economic interests cannot be seconded.


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