Assam Govt not serious in deportation of illegal migrants- SC

The court pointed out that though the State’s foreigners tribunals had identified over 58,000 illegal immigrants, the detention centres house only 900.


New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the Assam Government was not treating the issue of deportation of illegal migrants seriously. The court today said that this has gone too far and has become a joke.

The court pointed out that though the State’s foreigners tribunals had identified over 58,000 illegal immigrants, the detention centres house only 900.

The court is hearing a petition filed by activist Harsh Mander about the dismal living conditions within the four walls of the detention centres in the State. The court noticed that many detainees continue to be lodged inside these centres even after the expiry of their term of imprisonment for illegally entering the country.

The court questioned the solicitor general Tushar Mehta regarding the whereabouts of the foreigners during the course of the hearing. The court further asked whether the foreigners tribunal was functioning and whether the state’s law and order machinery was functioning to implement the tribunal’s order.

At one point, referring to the main issue raised in the petition about the lack of basic facilities for the 900 detainees lodged in the centres, Chief Justice Gogoi asked “you (Assam) are unable to deal with the base problem of 900 illegal immigrants, how will you deal with over 58,000 of them?”

The bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi  then directed the Assam Chief Secretary to file an affidavit by March 26 about the number of illegal foreigners, their numbers in deportation centres and those deported from the State. The court initially wanted to summon the Chief Secretary but desisted after Mr. Mehta’s intervention. The State has to further update the court on the adequacy of foreigners tribunals.

In 2005, an order was issued by the Supreme Court where it was mentioned that Assam is facing the threat of external aggression and recalling the order, the court asked what the Central and the state government has done about it to meet this threat of external aggression.

Meanwhile, the Government of Assam has informed the apex court that more than 50,000 migrants have been declared as foreigners in the past 10 years. The state government has also informed the court that around 900 migrants who had been declared foreigners were being kept in six detention centres in the state.

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