The Indian government on Monday told the Supreme Court that the Rohingya Muslims are “illegal” immigrants in the country and their countinous stay posed “serious national security ramifications”.
The government affidavit, filed in the Indian apex court Registry, said the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country is available to citizens only and illegal refugees cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to enforce the right.
Earlier during the day, a bench headed by Indian Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the statement of ASG Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, that the reply would be filed later today and fixed the PIL challenging the deportation of Rohingyas for hearing on October 3.
“As evident from the constitutional guarantee flowing from Article 19 of the Constitution, the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India as well as right to move freely throughout the territory of India is available only to the citizens of India… No illegal immigrant can pray for a writ of this Court which directly or indirectly confer the fundamental rights in general…,” the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs said. The Centre said the Rohingya refugees were illegals and their continuous stay pose a grave security threat. “It is submitted that continuance of Rohingyas’ illegal immigration into India and their continued stay in India, apart from being absolutely illegal, is found to be having serious national security ramifications and has serious security threats,” it said.
The government said it may file in sealed cover the details of the security threats and inputs gathered by the various security agencies in this matter. The Centre said that since India is not a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951, the obligations concerned to non-refoulement is not applicable. “That the provisions of Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951 and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1967 cannot be relied upon by the petitioner since India is not a signatory of either of them. It is respectfully submitted that the obligation concerning the prohibition of return/non-refoulement is a codified provision under the provisions of 1951 Convention referred to above.