Rohingyas in India: SC refuses to hear UN Special Rapporteur after J&K objects

The Supreme Court on Friday refused permission to United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur to assist the top court in the case concerning deportation of Rohingya refugees in India, legal website Bar and Bench reported.

The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde declined to hear Senior Lawyer CU Singh who was appearing on behalf of UN Special Rapporteur, E Tendayi Achiume.

Bobde said: “We will not hear you. Govt has reservations. We will hear you later.”

According to Bar and Bench, the top court was referring the objection raised by Senior Counsel Harish Salve who was appearing on behalf of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

“Please don’t go into this. UN is not subject to your jurisdiction of the municipal Court. Our govt has issues with UN Special Rapporteur,” Salve said.

The special procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective.

In the plea, UN Special Rapporteur had stated that mass deportation of Rohingyas is impermissible under international human rights law and India must carry out due process obligations necessary for the protection of each individual’s human rights and evaluate the likelihood an individual facing torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or deprivation of life in the receiving State if deported.

The plea also cited the findings of UN on Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingyas which represents a racially discriminatory, systematic project carried out with clear evidence of genocidal intent.

The matter came up for hearing on Friday before the Supreme Court of India after a plea was filed by Mohammad Salimullah, a Rohingya refugee seeking release and protection of over 150 Rohingya refugees in Jammu and Kashmir after the Union territory’s administration has said it will work on their deportation to Myanmar.

The Central government through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the plea on Friday contesting the claim of the petitioner that they are refugees and said that They are illegally immigrants. 

Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner said that these people had to flee Myanmar fearing for their lives.

“Mere fact that a country responsible for their fleeing wants wants back cannot be a ground to send them back when we know they will subjected to risk. This is the principle of refoulement,” Bhushan said.

However, the Court after hearing all parties reserved its order in the interim application.