Gauhati High Court Gives 7 Days to Assam Police’s Border Wing to release “Declared Foreigners” on Bail due to Coronavirus Outbreak

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The Gauhati High Court has given the border wing of the Assam police seven days to conform with its April 15 order to release on bail ‘declared foreigners’ (DFs) who have finished two years in detention camps.

The court, hearing a petition on Wednesday as regards to the Supreme Court’s April 13 order for releasing the DFs given the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, also asked the Special Director-General of Police (Border) to put up the list of the detainees those who are to be released when the matter is taken up after 10 days.

The border wing is tasked with the detection of suspected “unlawful immigrants” and refer them to any of the 100 existing quasi-judicial Foreigners Tribunals which determine at the snob of the persons detected so that it will be dispatched to a detention centre. Assam has six detention centres.

Justices Ajit Barthakur and Manojit Bhuyan relied that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had modified its May 10, 2019, order to reduce the detention duration of DFs from three to two years and put on relief to them with sureties of ₹5,000 each rather than ₹1 lakh each.

The Supreme court’s order was for decongesting prisons, correctional houses, detention centres and safety houses towards stopping the virus from spreading.

“We’re now making a standard direction for compliance through the respective Superintendents of Police (Border) of all the prevailing 33 districts…,” the Bench passed the order, asking them to first make a list of the names and period of detention of the detainees and ensuring their release on bail after approaching the situations.

The conditions include taking pictures and storing the biometrics of the iris of both eyes and all 10 fingerprints, a formal statement declared that a detainee shall document/report every week to the police station or outpost within verifiable areas of the detainee, after release. The detainee must undertake that they could be liable to be detained once more and tried in a tribunal if any of the other conditions are violated.

“The method has started. In due course of time, records [on the detainees released] can be generated,” stated Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Border) Devojyoti Mukherjee.


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