Supreme Court: ‘Right not to be deported’ only available to Indian citizens

Apr9,2021 #Rohingya #SUPREME COURT

Elisha Vaswani

Supreme Court bench comprising the Chief Justice of India S A Bobde , A S Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said ‘Right not to be deported’ is an ancillary to a fundamental right, which can only be availed by the citizens of our country.

Supreme Court rejected the pleas that demanded to pause or in some way stop the deportation of Rohingya refugees that were being detained in Jammu.

The observation made by the Supreme Court highlighted that the right not to be deported is ancillary to the fundamental right to reside in any part of India which is enshrined in Article 19(1)(e) of the Constitution.

There is an essential difference that separates the A.19 from it’s counterparts, A.14 and A.21 which collectively form the of the ‘Golden Triangle’.

The difference being that the latter are available to all persons, regardless of their citizenship. While the former, A.19, is exclusively available to citizens of India.

Based on the above reasoning, the bench observed, “the right not to be deported, is ancillary or concomitant to the right to reside or settle in any part of the territory of India guaranteed Article 19(1)(e)”

The bench comprising the Chief Justice of India S A Bobde , A S Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian came to conclude that the Rohingya refugees will not be deported unless the procedure prescribed for such deportation is complied with.

During the hearing on March 23, Adv. Prashant Bhushan, appearing on behalf of the applicant, cited the order passed by the International Court of Justice last year to call attention to the fact that Rohingyas faced a great genocidal threat there.

Bhushan further submitted that Myanmar is currently under the hold of a Military government and thus sending the refugees would only make them more susceptible to atrocities, which they earlier faced during the civilian atmosphere of governance as well.

While the Centre contended that the ICJ’s decision holds no relevance and can not be corelated to the present matter.

The court observed, “There is no denial of the fact that India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention. Therefore, serious objections are raised, whether Article 51(c) of the Constitution can be pressed into service, unless India is a party to or ratified a convention. But there is no doubt that the National Courts can draw inspiration from International Conventions/Treaties, so long as they are not in conflict with the municipal law.”

Case in question: Mohammad Salimullah Vs. Union Of India [IA 38048 OF 2021 in WPC 793 OF 2017]

Equivalent Citation: LL 2021 SC 202

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