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SC unhappy with Assam's response on deporting foreigners


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed its unhappiness about measures taken by the Assam government to deport illegal foreigners lodged in state's detention camps.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna sought details of the foreigners lodged in the detention camps and also inquired about the measures being taken by the Assam government to deport them.

The bench was hearing a PIL by Harsh Mander, a social activist, who moved the court raising concern on the plight of inmates in the state detention camps.

The state chief secretary submitted an affidavit detailing the measures. The court was informed that the foreigners who have completed five years in detention centres would be released after they furnish a security of Rs 5 lakh, and then submit documents to verify their address. The state government would also prepare their biometric database.

After initially hearing the Chief Secretary, in a sharp jibe at the methodology devised by the state government to deport foreigners, the court said: "You are asking the Supreme Court to be a part of an illegal order where a foreigner who has no right to stay in the country will remain and sign a bond and so on."

The CJI rubbishing the state's arguments, said "Don't you agree there has been failure on part of your government?"

The Chief Secretary informed the bench that these foreigners have illegally registered themselves in the voters' list. The court observed that the government of Assam should deport these foreigners as soon as possible. "But we don't see that effort from the state government", said the court.

Amicus Gaurab Banerjee informed the court that a collaborative mechanism needs to be developed with assistance of the country of origin of these foreigners, and that detainees, too, should cooperate. The court observed that it is apparent that government failed in its job.

The CJI queried the Chief Secretary about the nature of assistance offered by the government in collaboration with the state of Assam. The amicus submitted a copy of minutes of the meeting held on March 25 to the court.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioner, social activist Harsh Mander, sought time to file his reply to the affidavit.

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