Supreme Court 'stays' Rohingya deportation

"We have to strike a balance".

The Centre told the apex court that deporting Rohingya refugees would be an "executive policy decision" and that the judiciary should not interfere in the matter.

Before adjourning the hearing in the contentious matter to November 21 for a wider debate, the bench surprised both the petitioners and the Centre by saying it meant to pass an interim order, "Don't deport".

The bench, also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, said it will hear in details various aspects of the matter, including the Centre's preliminary objection that the issue fell under the domain of the executive and hence was not justifiable.

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Deepak Misra, had earlier said it will hear in detail various aspects of the case including the government's preliminary objection that the issue falls under the domain of the executive and can not be decided by the judiciary. The court said on Friday that the human rights of Rohingyas can not be ignored and there is a need to "strike a balance" when it comes to issues of national security resulting from their stay. "The Supreme Court has merely recorded the statement of the learned counsel for the petitioner to the effect that in case of any contingency he can move the court for appropriate interim order", the spokesperson said.

The apex court chose to give a detailed and holistic hearing from the 21st of next month on the government's decision to deport Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.

Initially, senior lawyers Fali Nariman, Prashant Bhushan, Colin Gonsalves, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid urged the court to restrain the government from deporting Rohingya Muslims.

"We know our responsibility", the ASG said. We will not permit any emotional arguments.

Facing backlash for denying "refuge" to a persecuted community, Union Home Minister termed the Rohingyas as "illegal immigrants" and not refugees. The Indian government is seeking to deport them, saying some of them may be linked to militant groups based outside of the country.

In its communication to states on August 8, the ministry had said that "illegal immigrants not only infringe on the rights of Indian citizens but also pose grave security challenges".

Vanessa Coleman