What Supreme Court Said On Rohingya Refugees

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What Supreme Court Said On Rohingya Refugees

A petition against deporting Rohingya refugees was called an extraordinary case by the Supreme Court

NEW DELHI:  Hearing a petition against deporting Rohingya people from the country, the Supreme Court today called the Rohingya situation in Myanmar a “huge humanitarian crisis”, but stopped short of freezing a plan to expel the refugees after the centre pleaded that a stay order could have international ramifications.

“The State must not be oblivious to humanitarian considerations,” a bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed, putting off hearing in the case to 21 November.

The top court had earlier heard the centre insist that the court must not entertain the petition from two Rohingya Muslims against sending them back and called the 40,000-odd “Rohingya immigrants” in India as a threat to national security.

In observations made during the hearing today, the top court made it clear that they weren’t going to overlook the humanitarian aspect of the case.

“We have to also take into consideration of women, children and sick. The role of the state has to be multi-pronged and must be humanitarian,” Chief Justice Misra observed.

The bench also underscored that the court would take a holistic view, go strictly by legal principles and not be swayed by emotions or other considerations. “The court would have to balance the interest of national security, economic interest, labour interest and demographic considerations”, he said.

Lakhs of Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority Rakhine state, have fled Myanmar after August when a fresh security crackdown on Rohingya insurgent groups targetted the civilian population as well. Most of the refugees landed in Bangladesh.

The United Nations refugee agency has about 16,000 people registered with them but the government told parliament recently that there could be three times as many.

At Friday’s hearing, the Supreme Court appeared inclined to accept the petitioner’s request to order the centre to put the deportation plan on hold. But the centre request not to pass a stay order, saying it would have far-reaching implications and have international ramifications.

Mindful of the centre’s concern, the court told the petitioner that they were free to straightaway approach the top SC if any contingency situation arose. The government responded that such a need would not arise.
 

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