Supreme Court Reserves Order on Plea for Release of 160 Rohingya Refugees Held in Jammu

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Rohingya refugee women walking past graffiti with their UN documents to a nearby verification center in Bathindi area of Jammu. — Photo courtesy: TRTWorld

CJI Refuses to hear UN Special Rapporteur Counsel Chander Udhay Singh after opposition by advocate Harish Salve

Team Clarion 

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Friday reserved the order in a plea that called for release of about 160 Rohingya refugees detained in Jammu earlier this month.

The Chief Justice of India, Sharad A. Bobde, who heard the arguments of the two sides acknowledged that if Rohingya were deported to Myanmar there was a possibility they would be slaughtered but added “we cannot control all that”.

“We are not in any way called upon to condone or condemn genocide in Myanmar, though we believe genocide anywhere is condemnable,” said the Chief Justice.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan who represented the detained refugees argued that the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ forbids the deportation of the refugees to the country where their life is in danger.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who represented the Centre said the Rohinyas were “illegal immigrants” and that the government was in touch with the Myanmar government to confirm whether the detained refugees were nationals of that country.

Mehta assured the court that they will be detained only after their Myanmar nationality is verified. While advocate Harish Salve representing Jammu and Kashmir union territory pointed that India was not a signatory to refugee conventions, the Chief Justice asked Bhushan as to whether he has  produced any evidence to show if there is any danger to Rohingyas today? To this, Bhushan said he has annexed a media report in the supplementary affidavit.

Bhushan’s request to the CJI to hear the counsel of UN Special Rapporteur Chander Uday  Singh as amicus was turned down after opposition by Salve.

“We don’t need your assistance today,” Justice Bobde replied to Singh after he said he has filed an application showing all conventions.

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