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Illegal Rohingya migrants have no right to reside in India: Modi govt’s blunt response to the Supreme Court

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The Modi government through the Ministry of Home Affairs has filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court of India in the plea seeking to release Rohingyas who have been illegally detained in jails and detention centers without assigning any reason or for violation of the Foreigners Act.

In response to the plea filed by Priyali Sur, the MHA has submitted that illegal Rohingya migrants have no right to reside within the territory of India, as it is expressly against Article 19.

Court has further been told the petition seeks to recognise a new legislative class of “refugees” which is not recognised under Indian law.

“The prayer of the Petitioner amounts to re-writing of the statute or directing the Parliament to frame a law in a particular manner which is wholly beyond the powers of judicial review. It is trite law that the Courts cannot direct Parliament to make a law or to legislate in a particular way”, the affidavit adds.

Govt argued that the petitioner is trying to circumvent the parliamentary procedure and to do indirectly what they cannot do directly, the Centre has said, “issues raised by the Petitioner have wide ranging ramifications and clearly fall within the legislative policy of the Parliament and the contours of judicial review would be suitably altered in such regard”.

Reiterating that India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and to the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 1967, the MHA submits that whether or not any class of persons are to be recognized as refugees is a pure policy decision.

“…there cannot be any recognition of refugee status outside the legislative framework and such declaration of refugee status cannot be made by judicial order. As a developing country with the largest population in the world and with limited resources, priority is required to be given to the country’s own citizens. Therefore, there cannot be any blanket acceptance of foreigners as refugees especially where the vast majority of such foreigners have entered the country illegally…”, the affidavit states.

Citing the possibility of serious ramifications for national security, the Centre also mentioned there cannot be a “blanket acceptance” of foreigners as refugees, especially when a vast majority of such people have entered the country illegally.

In its affidavit, the Centre emphasized the need to focus on the welfare of its citizens first as a developing country where population is the largest in the world while resources are limited.

“As a developing country with the largest population in the world and with limited resources, priority is required to be given to the country’s own citizens. Therefore, there cannot be any blanket acceptance of foreigners as refugees especially where the vast majority of such foreigners have entered the country illegally,” it said.’

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