Supreme Court says human rights of Rohingya refugees can not be ignored


"The national importance can not be secondary and at the same time human rights of Rohingyas should be kept in mind", said the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. "The issue involves human rights of many", the top court said in its observation.

The Supreme Court today chose to give a detailed and holistic hearing from November 21 on the contentious issue of government's decision to deport Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and Y Chandrachud said the issue was of great magnitude and therefore, the state has a big role.

News agency ANI quoted the SC bench as saying that national importance can not be secondary and at the same time, the human rights of the Rohingyas should be kept in mind. It further rapped the government saying that there is a need to strike a balance between human rights and national security.

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The apex court earlier asked Centre and two Rohingya Muslims, who have challenged to deport refugees to Myanmar, to desist from making emotional arguments and personal attacks and to file documents, including worldwide conventions.

ASG Tushar Mehta, arguing for the Centre, told the three-judge bench of the SC that "this is an issue involving worldwide ramifications".

"We can't ignore old women and children among Rohingyas..." Deferring the matter to November 21, the Supreme Court, however, allowed the Rohingya petitioners to approach it in case of any contingency. The affidavit was submitted in response to a plea filed by the Rohingya immigrants, claiming they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

The court had emphasized earlier that it will hear arguments from the Centre and the two Rohingya Muslim refugees petitioners based on law points only and not on any emotional aspects. The persecution has forced tens of thousands to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, from where many come to India.