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Centre justifies Foreigners Order '06

The Centre told the Supreme Court that a separate procedure was needed for Tribunals in Assam.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 21:42 IST

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that a separate procedure was needed for Tribunals in Assam for detection and deportation of foreigners in view of difficulties faced in identifying the illegal immigrants due to their ethnic similarities with Bengali speaking Indians.

During arguments on petitions of Asom Gana Parishad MP Sarbananda Sonowal and local BJP leader Charan Chandra Deka challenging the February 10 notifications in this regard, Solicitor General GE Vahanvati sought to justify the controversial Foreigners (Tribunals for Assam) Order 2006.

In its written submission, the Centre said Special Tribunals were also needed to ensure that in the process of identification for deportation, Bengali speaking Indians were not inadvertently deported.

Bangladesh Government had been complaining that India is deporting Indian Muslims on the pretext of deporting illegal migrants from Bangladesh and there were questions of human rights and international treaty obligations, Vahanvati told a Bench of Justice SB Sinha and Justice PK Balasubramanyan.

The Solicitor General sought to dispel the impression that under the 2006 Order the burden of proof has been shifted on the complainants.

However, the Bench asked if there was no difference between the 1964 Order and the fresh one, then what was the need for issuing the February 10 notifications.

On behalf of the petitioners, Senior Counsel Arun Jaitly and Ashok Desai questioned the Government's motive behind having a liberal detection and deportation regime for foreigners where the cases of infiltration were the most.

The case was adjourned to Monday when senior counsel KK Venugopal will make submission on behalf of Assam.

First Published: Apr 28, 2006 21:42 IST