New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would hear on 31 January a batch of pleas, including that of two refugees who have approached it against the centre’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said it would also hear on the next date the interim applications seeking to be impleaded as parties in the ongoing case. “We are not rejecting any of the impleadment application before us in this matter. We will hear it on the next date," the bench said.

On 21 November, the apex court had agreed to defer the matter for hearing it on Tuesday. Two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, had approached the apex court opposing the centre’s decision to deport over 40,000 refugees who came to India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there. Various other petitions, including those by former RSS ideologue and Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan leader K.N. Govindacharya, CPI(M) youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), a West Bengal child rights body and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, have been filed in the apex court on the matter.

The top court had on 13 October said the Rohingya refugee problem was of a “great magnitude" and the state would have to play a “big role" while dealing with the contentious issue. It had earlier decided to give a detailed and holistic hearing on the government’s decision to deport the Rohingya to Myanmar, observing that a balance has to be struck between national interest and human rights as the issue involved national security, economic interests and humanity.

The court had suggested to the centre not to deport these refugees, but the additional solicitor general (ASG) Tushar Mehta had urged that it should not be written in the order as anything coming on record would have international ramifications. The Rohingya, who fled to India after violence in the western Rakhine State of Myanmar, were settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

In a communication to all states, the union home ministry had said the rise of terrorism in last few decades had become a serious concern for most nations as illegal migrants were prone to recruitment by terrorist organizations. It had directed the state governments to set up a task force at district level to identify and deport illegal settlers.

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