SC reserves order on plea regarding condition of foreign immigrants at Assam detention centres

Last Updated: Fri, May 10, 2019 15:49 hrs

The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its order seeking direction with regard to the conditions of foreign immigrants at detention centres in Assam.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved its order on a plea seeking direction to the authorities to ensure humane treatment of those detained in the detention centres in Assam.

During the course of hearing, amicus curiae in the case senior advocate Prashant Bhushan told the court that prolonged detention of foreigners would amount to infringement of their fundamental rights and they should be released.

The bench also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed that the usage of electronic bracelets to track the foreigner's location be preferred as the last resort as it would also amount to infringement of fundamental right as all their activities will be under constant check.

The court was hearing a plea initially filed by activist Harsh Mander sought directions to the Assam government to render humane treatment to the immigrants lodged in the detention centres in the state.

On May 2, the top court struck down Mander's name as the petitioner in the case and replaced it with the Supreme Court Legal Services Authority (SCLSA). Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was earlier representing Mander, was appointed as the amicus curiae in the case.

This came after Mander filed a plea seeking recusal of Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, from hearing the matter.

Dismissing his plea, the top court had said, "You are a public-spirited individual and have worked for years. Now you cite social media reports to throw at the Chief Justice of India to say he is biased?" CJI asked the petitioner during the course of the hearing."

The apex court had on April 9 said that the foreigners cannot be detained for an "indefinite period" in the detention centres and directed the Assam government to inform the court about the methods authorities to consider releasing them.

"These 900 odd people, how long will be the imprisonment? What we are suggesting release them on sureties... Please tell us, out of these 900 how many are you releasing?" the Bench had told Assam Chief Secretary who was present in the court pursuant to the court's earlier direction.

Mander's plea had underlined that the immigrants must be treated as refugees. (ANI)