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13 October 2017, 03:46 | Erica Roy
Don't deport Rohingya refugees, human rights must be kept in mind, says Supreme Court
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 global ramifications. "The court would have to balance the interest of national security, economic interest, labour interest and demographic considerations", he said.
"The national importance can not be secondary and at the same time human rights of Rohingyas should be kept in mind", said the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. It allowed the petitioners to approach it in case of any contingency.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and Y Chandrachud said the issue was of great magnitude and therefore, the state has a big role. "Moreover, India's credibility as a net security provider for our neighbours in the region would be severely compromised if we fail to act on behalf of our broader interests in the region", they said. The issue involves human rights of many'.
The top court made it clear that there was a need for holistic hearing and it is neither going to be swayed by the arguments of senior lawyer Fali S Nariman, who is representing the petitioners, nor by any other senior counsel and the submissions have to go by the letter of the law.
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. The Indian government is seeking to deport them, saying some of them may be linked to militant groups based outside of the country. However, a plea filed eminent citizens of the country has challenged the government's decision. In July, the ministry had directed state governments to set up a task force at the district level to identify and deport illegally staying foreign nationals.
In a widely criticized decision, the government is looking to deport 40,000 Rohingya refugees now present in India.
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