New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the appointment of nodal officers whom parents, relatives, and guardians of Rohingyas could approach if children were being denied benefits in health and education.
The direction was passed by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra after the court was informed that children of Rohingyas were being denied basic facilities.
“Children of Rohingyas were being denied basic facilities for the lack of an Aadhaar card," Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, told the court.
The Centre argued that this situation was not as it was being described and petitioners’ claims about children dying in Rohingya camps were not true.
Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta had earlier told the court that the Centre could not allow the country to be flooded—by allowing anybody to enter it and become a refugee capital.
An estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims, including the petitioners, live in India and are registered with the UN refugee agency in India.
Highlighting what it called the serious ramifications on national security, the Centre had told the apex court in September that it should not interfere and let the government take a decision under a “fair and just procedure" on the issue of deportation of Rohingyas, many of whom had illegally crossed borders seeking refuge from widespread violence and discrimination in their home country, Myanmar.
Citing India’s large population and its complex social, cultural and economic infrastructure, the centre said that it would take a decision keeping in mind the larger interest of the nation along with other factors such as its natural resources, requirements of the country’s population and the national security threat it may pose.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions, including one filed by two Rohingya Muslims—Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir—who are now living in India.
In a 16-page affidavit, the Centre had held that the current influx of illegal Rohingya immigrants into India was a “potential threat to internal and national security" and in such a situation, the government would take a policy decision based on several parameters, diplomatic considerations and potential dangers to the nation.
The petitioners submitted that the proposed deportation was contrary to Article 14 (equality under law), Article 21 (right to life) and Article 51(c) of the Constitution of India.