Calcutta HC restrains WB govt from deporting two Rohingya refugees (for now)

Calcutta HC restrains WB govt from deporting two Rohingya refugees (for now)

A Single Judge Bench of the Calcutta High Court earlier this week restrained the state government from deporting two members of the Rohingya community.

The order of injunction was passed by Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya on December 24, in a petition by two state-less persons - Abdur Sukur @ Adi Sukur and Anowara Begum - of the Rohingya community who were disowned by the Myanmar government. The West Bengal government has been restrained from deporting the petitioners during the pendency of the matter before the Court.

Counsel for the petitioners strenuously argued that since the petitioners have already completed their sentences for the offences alleged against them, the state government was planning to deport them to Myanmar.

Doing so would be tantamount to a death penalty, as the Myanmar government has declared a policy of all-out onslaught on members of the Rohingya community, it was argued.

Counsel for the respondents, on the contrary, argued that the writ petition is itself vague with regard to the period of sentence undergone by the petitioners. The state government also sought an adjournment on behalf of the Union of India since the Ministry of External Affairs was a necessary party to the writ petition and ought to be heard.

After hearing the parties, the Court observed, view of the imminent plight of the petitioners, who, despite having basic human rights in consonance with the Fundamental Rights provided by the Constitution of India as well as the U.N. Charter and the norms of any civilized society, a minimum protection ought to be given to the petitioners till the writ petition is decided, in order to uphold the spirit of humanity, if not the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution of India, which is the grundnorm of all Indian statutes.

The Court went on to direct the respondents to provide the petitioners with all the basic amenities which are essential for living a dignified life. While granting access to the advocate-on-record or any other advocate to the petitioners, the Court laid down a condition that such access would be provided to a limited extent and might be monitored by the respondents.

"It is further clarified that, if the advocate-on- record and/or any other advocate, representing the petitioners, seeks leave to have access to the petitioners in the meantime, such advocate(s) will be granted such access by the respondents to the limited extent that the respondents might monitor the timing of such access and such access may be, at the discretion of the respondents, under the supervision of the respondents."

With these observations, the Court restrained the government from deporting the Rohingya petitioners during the pendency of the writ petition.

The matter is now listed for January 20, 2020.

The petitioners were represented by Advocates Rachit Lakhmani and Indrojeet Dey. The state was represented by Advocate AK Nag.

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