Supreme Court: The bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ has directed the Centre to provide the details of the functional detention centres in Assam and the foreigners detained there during the last 10 years. The Court has also asked the authorities to apprise it of the year-wise details as to how many illegal immigrants, after being declared so by the Foreigners Tribunal functioning in Assam, were deported to their native countries in the last decade.
The said order of the Court came in a PIL filed by activist Harsh Mander through advocate Prashant Bhushan on the plight of foreigners in detention centres wherein it has been alleged that foreigners are kept in detention indefinitely just because they are not Indians and are treated as “illegal aliens”. Advocate Prashant Bhushan argued that these persons were facing prolonged detention, adding that they should be treated as refugees and released from the detention centres after imposing certain conditions.
The Court said that foreigners can not be kept in detention centres after being declared as illegal immigrants by tribunals if the Centre had not been able to arrive at a settlement with the countries where they were to be deported. It said:
“You can ask the neighbouring countries to accept their natives, but you cannot keep them in detention centres for all the times.”
The matter will now be taken up on 19.02.2019.