NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government for recommending conditional release of foreigners from detention centres in Assam and questioned as to how can a foreigner who has illegally entered be allowed to live in the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi looked visibly upset after going through the Assam Chief Secretary’s affidavit which stated that the foreigners who have completed five years in detention centres may be released subject to furnishing security of Rs 5 lakh, verifying address, biometric of eyes among others.
The bench was critical of the fact that out of over one lakh people who were declared foreigners by tribunals, only four have been deported so far and above 900 are lodged in detention centres.
“You are asking the Supreme Court to be a part of an illegal order where a foreigner who has no right to stay in the country will remain and sign a bond and so on. Don’t you agree there has been a failure on the part of your government? We will order departmental proceedings against you right now. You have no right to continue in office,” the bench told the Chief Secretary.
On this, the government responded, “These persons who are to be sent back to their countries are staying here illegally and have their names enrolled in the voters list.” The bench then said the stand of the government of India and Assam should be that the foreigners should be deported as soon as possible. “But, we do not see that stand.”
Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the petitioner, social activist Harsh Mander, sought time to file his reply to the affidavit. His PIL had raised concern towards the plight of inmates in the detention camps in Assam.