Decision won’t be taken on emotive issues: SC

| | New Delhi

The decision to deport Rohingya Muslims will not be decided on emotive arguments but on the basic premise of respecting humanity, said the Supreme Court on Tuesday while posting the matter for final hearing on October 13.

With the Government terming the continuance of Rohingya illegal migrants to be a national security threat in seeking their deportation, the petitioners led by senior advocate Fali S Nariman on Tuesday urged the Government not to paint all Rohingyas as terrorists with the same brush as many of these persons who have crossed over from Myanmar (Burma) included children, woman and even Hindus.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said, "We will not decide the issue on emotive arguments but on the need for showing respect for humanity." The Court said, "We are first time hearing the case of this nature. The concept of children and women, if they are really suffering, the proposition put forth by petitioners is that India should live up to its commitment (under International Conventions) and take steps such to give them protection."

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre raised two preliminary objections questioning the locus of the petitioners (two Rohingya refugees and Democratic Youth Federation of India) and whether the subject matter of deportation was "justiciable" by Courts keeping in view the fact that deportation of illegal migrants based on determination of national security threat fell squarely within the executive domain.

Senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan who appeared for NHRC opposed the Centre claiming that the law officer was confusing justiciability with discretion and said such issue cannot deprive Courts from examining an issue of deportation linked to human rights. Further, Nariman explained that Article 21 (Right to Life) in the Indian Constitution provides is an individual-centric right available not to citizens alone but "persons" in general.

He pointed out that in October 2016, the Indian Government had committed itself to the principle of "non-refoulement" which prevents India from turning away refugees. On a lighter vein, Nariman remarked, "I am the only refugee from Burma. Nobody else can claim to be one." He had migrated from British Burma to British India. 



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