Let me begin at the beginning itself by pointing out that I fully endorse and support the Government’s stand that India can’t be the refugee capital of the world. Centre rightly told the Supreme Court on January 30 that, “We do not want India to become the refugee capital of the world.” What wrong has Centre said?
To put things in perspective, the government was responding to a submission made by Rohingya refugees that the Border Security Force (BSF) at the borders was “pushing back” their compatriots fleeing persecution in Myanmar with chilli spray and stun grenades. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta while appearing for the government orally submitted before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra orally submitted very rightly that, “People from every other country will flood our country.” Very rightly said!
To be sure, Tushar rightly submitted that, “India will be flooded with refugees. We don’t want India to become the refugee capital of the world. Anybody can enter the country and we can’t do anything? These things are better left to the executive.” What wrong has Tushar said? Judiciary must leave this delicate issue which falls within the government’s purview and which has tremendous security implications to decide for itself!
With due respect to judiciary, I very strongly feel that it should instead first set its own house in order. The 230th report of Law Commission strongly recommended the setting up of more high court benches in different states. But see the unbeatable irony that only one state that is Karnataka has alone gained from it. Karnataka already had a bench at Hubli but 2 more benches still were created at Dharwad and Gulbarga for just 4 and 8 districts by the previous UPA government in 2012! UP has more than 10 lakh cases pending and Karnataka has just less than 2 lakh cases pending still Karnataka has 3 benches and UP just one! Worst of all, West UP which alone accounts for more than half of the pending cases and which alone has 26 districts and whose population alone is 9 crore which is 3 crore more than that of Karnataka has not even a bench leave alone high court and 3 benches! Why judiciary has never stepped in to correct this?
Why Justice Jaswant Singh Commission appointed by former PM late Mrs Indira Gandhi to recommend where all benches were needed in late 1970s had recommended that UP must have 3 benches at Agra, Dehradun and Nainital but not one bench was set up even though on its recommendations benches were set up at Aurangabad in Maharashtra which already had 2 benches, Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal? Why judiciary never probed this baffling and blatant disregard of the landmark recommendations of the Justice Jaswant Singh Commission report? Why people of West UP and people of Uttarakhand who till 2000 formed part of UP were compelled to travel thousands of kilometers all the way to Allahabad to get justice and not a single bench was given to them despite the landmark recommendation to create 3 benches here by Justice Jaswant Commission and yet judiciary never investigated into the same?
Why judiciary has never ensured that the vacancies in subordinate judiciary the filling of which is in its hands are filled completely and still more than 6000 posts are lying vacant? Why UP has maximum pending cases, maximum population, maximum districts, maximum MPs, maximum MLAs, maximum Judges but has least benches only one at Lucknow which is so close to Allahabad and no bench at West UP which witnesses maximum crime, maximum riots, maximum killings etc and yet judiciary has never taken any action on this? It is high time and judiciary must act on this as soon as possible so that people of West UP especially litigants are not compelled to travel whole night to Allahabad which is more than 700 km away and the high court and benches of 8 states and even Lahore High Court in Pakistan is nearer to West UP as compared to Allahabad and this was raised by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Parliament as Leader of Opposition in 1986 when he demanded bench of high court for West UP but 32 years later still there is no bench!
Anyway coming back to the main topic: How can this be ignored that India is already an overpopulated country? How can this be ignored that India already has its own refugee problem and lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits have been displaced from their own house in Kashmir? How can this be ignored that Rohingyas are being planted in Kashmir and Jammu which will only serve to further fuel the growing imbalance and fuel further militancy in the area?
Why do Muslim countries especially Pakistan which always champions the cause of Muslims not take Rohingyas in their own land? Why do European countries which lecture India on human rights not either grant them refuge in their own country? Why is America which again believes in lecturing us on human rights not forthcoming in giving refuge to them in their own country?
Why only India is expected to give refuge to Rohingyas? Why no other country comes forward to welcome them in their own country? Why even Bangladesh which has given refuge to Rohingyas seeks all sorts of help for Rohingyas from India and not Pakistan? India has generously helped Rohingyas in Bangladesh by providing them all humanitarian help but how can it disregard its own national and security interests and give refuge to all Rohingyas who have been displaced from Myanmar?
What is the guarantee that terrorists will not infiltrate along with Rohingyas to India? What is the guarantee that those Rohingya terrorists who killed about 100 Hindus after brutally maiming them and torturing them and then killing them will not enter India along with Rohingya refugees? What is the guarantee that those who come to India will not be brainwashed and after getting paid by ISI will not work to destabilise India?
Who can deny that Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army is a Rohingya insurgent group active in northern Rakhine State of Myanmar? Who can deny that Hafiz Saeed who is chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba has close links with these terror groups? Who can deny that Hafiz can easily use Rohingyas in India as mere pawns to destabilize India and carry out terror attacks to kill innocent Indians in large numbers? Who can deny that India will become a refugee capital if such people are not stopped promptly from entering India?
Who can deny that Rohingyas already in large numbers have been staying illegally in India since many years? Who can deny that they must be sent back to their original country from where they came? Who can deny that some parties don’t want them to go back as they are playing voter bank politics and by illegal means have got them Indian citizenship?
I have absolutely no hesitation in concluding that Supreme Court must stay away from ruling in such cases which involves policy making decisions and especially which directly concerns the security of citizens. Tushar rightly said that if the argument of the petitioner is accepted then, “The country would be flooded by refugees. We do not want India to become the refugee capital of the world. These are matters between countries involving diplomatic relations. We cannot allow people to enter like this.” The court will take up the matter next on.
On a concluding note, the Supreme Court must take very seriously what Tushar has rightly said and instead direct its whole energy in setting up more benches in lawless states like UP whom former UN Secretary General Ban ki moon had termed as “rape and crime capital of India” still has least benches in India and West UP and Bihar which is another lawless state has none!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.