Supreme Court considers release of foreigners in Assam detention centres, frowns on tribunals plan 

Arunima Bajaj  Friday 10th of May 2019 10:38 AM
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The Supreme Court of India.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Thursday, said that foreigners who cannot be deported to their parent country should not be held in detention centres in Assam forever.

A bench comprising chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjeev Jain asked advocate Prashant Bhushan and solicitor general Tushar Mehta to suggest an ensured way of their availability whenever needed by the authorities, after releasing them.

Bhushan suggested that the detainees be made to wear radio collar devices, a surety from two Indians and a bond of Rs 1 lakh and that a cut-off period of six months could be set for deportation, failing which the foreigner should be released. However, Mehta said grant of such relief must not amount to encouragement to the illegal migrants.

Mehta also said that “infiltration has come down substantially” in the last few years, on which Gogoi said, “You have options. Deport them. You are not doing it. You are only showing us some envelopes.”

The top court also questioned the Assam government over its proposal to immediately start 1,000 foreigners’ tribunals all over the state to try undocumented immigrants.

A bench led by CJI Gogoi said it looked like the State government hatched the plan without bothering to conduct a “basic study” of how to carry it out.

Gogoi also said, “Where will you find them overnight? How many advocates above the age of 35 years would be willing to join? What is the available pool of retired judicial officers?”

Mehta, in his response, said, “We propose to have 200 tribunals immediately,”

While refusing to extend the July 31 deadline to finalize the National Register of Citizens, the court said, “the Assam government should have foreseen this problem given that the last date for publishing the final list of National Register of Citizens is July 31.”




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