Plight of Rohingyas: SC stresses balance between national security & human rights

Supreme Court to hear Rohingya refugees' PIL challenging deportation

Attorney Prashant Bhushan said the court had been expected to issue its ruling Friday, but delayed the decision until November 21, saying it wants more time to hear a petition on behalf of his clients, two Rohingya challenging the government's deportation plans. While posting the matter for further hearing on November 21, the court categorically stated that no Rohingyas refugee should be deported until the next date of hearing in the case. It, however, allowed petitioners to approach it in case of contingency.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court observed that national importance can not be secondary and at the same time human rights of Rohingyas should be kept in mind. "A balance must be maintained between national interest and humanitarian duties", the court observed. It is not an ordinary case.

In the matter, the Senior Advocate, Prashant Bhushan, appearing from the petitioner side, said "the court has ordered the government not to deport any Rohingya Muslims till it decides on the matter". The ASG said that the Rohingya issue involves worldwide ramifications.

The petition has been filed by Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, two UNHCR-registered Rohingyas, challenging the legality of the government's decision to deport Rohingyas and seeking protection under the "principle of non-refoulement".

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We have to also take into consideration of women, children and sick.

The Indian government also fears that militant groups can influence Rohingyas and use them anti-national activities. The immigrants also challenged their deportation on grounds of violation of worldwide human rights conventions. They have claimed that they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence, and bloodshed against the community there.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court registry, the NDA government said the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country is available to citizens only and illegal refugees can not invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to enforce the right.

Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar in millions after an intense military crackdown that has been likened to an ethnic cleansing by the United Nations.