The Supreme Court has sharply criticised the Assam government for its proposal to conditionally release and monitor declared foreigners who have been kept in dismal condition in the state’s detention centres for over five years. The SC has called for deportation of foreigners at earliest
The Assam government has proposed to release foreigners who have completed five years in detention centres subject to furnishing a security of Rs. 5 lakh, verification of address and collection of their biometrics. The Supreme Court had directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit before April 25 suggesting measures for release of detainees from Assam’s detention centres.
The Supreme Court has observed that the proposed measure showed the government’s failure to deport declared foreigners. It further added that the court would not be a party to such a move.
In February, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that 938 people were being held in six detention centres in Assam. Of these, 823 of them have been declared as foreigners by tribunals.
An illegal foreigner is declared so by Foreigners Tribunals of Assam. Foreigners Tribunal (FT) was set up in Assam in 1964 through the Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964. The tribunals have been mandated with identifying the legal status of suspected foreigners in Assam.
Supreme Court’s observations come in the backdrop of a plea which raised the issue of dismal living conditions in the detention centres of Assam. Indefinite detention and dismal living conditions is violative of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which guarantees the right to life and liberty.