The Supreme Court Thursday rejected a plea seeking the release of at least 150 Rohingya refugees detained in a Jammu sub-jail and the stalling of deportation.
The bench said that the deportation of Rohingya refugees from Jammu must follow due procedure. It involves their proper identification and acknowledgement of their citizenship by the Myanmar government.
Earlier the Centre had opposed a plea while emphasising that India cannot become the international capital of illegal immigrants.
The government maintains that illegal immigration should not be permitted under the garb of Article 21.
The Jammu & Kashmir administration began a verification drive of the Rohingyas. It moved some of the migrants to a holding centre, pending their potential deportation.
There are several Rohingya refugees in J&K. Their numbers have increased since the late 2000s. They arrived in India escaping from persecution in Myanmar. India has previously deported Rohingya refugees.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre said that it has begun the process of deporting Rohingya after receiving a confirmation from the Myanmar government regarding their nationality.
The Supreme Court should steer clear of the diplomatic issue since it fell within the exclusive domain of the executive, he added.
Harish Salve representing the J&K administration also cautioned the bench against starting a dangerous trend. Since this is interfering with a subject related to illegal immigrants and diplomatic relations with another country. Therefore, this could set a dangerous precedent.
The affidavit by the Centre asserts that it has to first secure the interests of its own citizens before those of illegal immigrants.