Arguments Summary Day 1: September 18, 2017.

The bench comprising the Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A .M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud began hearing the Writ Petition against the proposed deportation of Rohingya refugees. As a response to the writ petition, the Centre filed an affidavit supporting the deportation of Rohingya Muslims. The thrust of Centre’s affidavit is that deportation of illegal immigrants is a policy decision and the Court should not intervene in such matters. The Centre further claimed in its affidavit that constitutional protection of Right to Movement and Residence under Article 19(1)(d) and Article 19(1)(e) respectively does not apply to Rohingya as they are non- citizens. On the applicability of international law obligations, the Centre took the position that since India is not a signatory to either Conventions Relating to Status of the Refugees 1951 or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of the Refugees, they are not bound by its provisions.

The Additional Solicitor General, Mr Tushar Mehta then noted that this influx was not a recent occurrence and had been underway since 2012. Senior Advocate, Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the petitioners, responded by stressing that the immediate claim was not for relief, but for protection against any untoward occurences to these refugees.

On behalf of the petitioners, Mr Prashant Bhushan noted that Mr Fali Nariman would also be assisting the court in this matter. The petitioners also pleaded to issue a notice to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) but the Chief Justice refused the prayer stating “It will be too early to issue a notice to NHRC. We want to see if we have the jurisdiction. If yes, what kind of jurisdiction do we have?”

Mr Mehta then requested further time for the Union to file a detailed reply. The matter is now listed to be heard on 3rd October 2017.

(This post relies on contributions from Ms. Ashrutha Rai)