The rights body, through senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud that the Rohingya, who are already in India, had the right to approach the SC to assert their rights to basic amenities.
“Refugees all over the world have got this right and the Indian Supreme Court has been sensitive enough not to apply a lower standard for refugees,” Subramanium said.
The NHRC had earlier opposed the Centre’s August 8 circular for identification and deportation of illegal Rohingya immigrants. On October 13, the court had told the government that it would like to examine the Rohingya’s plea for refuge in India while not undermining the Centre’s concern about the security threat posed by some among the illegal migrants from Rakhine province of Myanmar.
Appearing for some refugees, advocate Prashant Bhushan said though the Centre had not deported Rohingya, it was stopping entry of more refugees despite knowing that they faced persecution by Myanmarese forces. “The BSF must be ordered to stop pushing back Rohingya refugees and allow them to enter India,” he said.
However, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta took objection and said, “We do not want India to become the refugee capital of the world. I am not sure if it is time to throw our gates open to each and every refugee to come and stay in India. There are security concerns and let the matter be handled by the executive.”
He said, “Is it judicially manageable? Can the SC test the government’s policy decision? The executive is attempting to solve this issue through diplomatic efforts. Let the executive be allowed to discharge its constitutional duties without judicial interference.”