Context and Facts
A report by the Human rights Watch enumerates that 671,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar as of August 2017. The members of the ‘Rohingya’ community are fleeing the State’s systematic military campaign of ethnic cleansing. The community is one of the largest stateless communities in the entire world.
A writ petition was filed in the Calcutta High Court by Abdur Sukur who has been detained by the State along with his wife Anowara Begum. The couple belongs to the Rohingya community. The petition is against the decision of the state to deport the couple back to Myanmar that has an ongoing slaughter of the said Rohingya community. The respondents are the State of West Bengal and others.
Arguments of the Learned Counsel
Arguments for the Petition made by the learned counsel, Mr. Rachit Lakhmani and Mr Indrajeet Dey, point out that the deportation of the petitioners back to Myanmar would definitely lead to their death at the hands of the State Military.
The couple was arrested in 2017 when they had entered India from Bangladesh and were on their way to Delhi for a hearing in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The learned counsel argues that the couple has already completed their sentence in the Dum Dum jail for the alleged offences and now the respondents are trying to deport them despite the apparent threat to their life.
The counsel for the respondents argues that the writ petition is “vague” about the period of the sentence that the petitioners have undergone in the Dum Dum jail. They state that the Ministry of the External Affairs of the Union of India is an important party and therefore they should be present in the hearing.
The Court Order
The court proceedings were held on the 24th December 2019 under Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya.
The Court decidedly states that the in view of the “imminent plight” and the threat of life, the petitioners should be provided “minimum protection” until the writ petition is decided. The court also directs the respondents to ensure that the petitioners are provided “basic amnesties, compatible with a life worthy of respect.” The advocates for the petitioners were granted permission to have access to the petitioners under the supervision of the respondents.
The court has also asked the respondents to file their affidavit(s)-in-opposition within the 10th of January, 2020; giving time till the 17th of January for any replies from the petitioners. The Court and has set the next hearing date on 2oth January 2020.
On 27th December 2019, the United Nations passed a resolution demanding that the State of Myanmar create the appropriate conditions for the safe return of the Rohingya Muslims back to the country. The UN General Assembly has also called for an immediate stop to the killing and inciting of hatred. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled the state and are living as refugees; stateless and disowned. Among these are Abdur Sukur and his wife searching for right to life.
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