SC raps secy for failing to deport illegal foreigners

SC raps secy for failing to deport illegal foreigners

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday berated Assam's chief secretary for failing in “constitutional duty” to trace and deport those who were declared as illegal foreigners. The top officer admitted that the track record of the state has been "poor" in this regard.

On a specific query about 40 lakh people left out of the National Register for Citizens by a bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the officer said it would require setting up 1,000 foreigners tribunals with a budget of Rs 900 crore.

“It is your solemn duty under the Constitution to deport all those declared as foreigners by Tribunals or courts” the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, reminded the Chief Secretary.

As the court questioned the top officer of the state, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta interjected to submit that the observations made during the hearing may impact the Lok Sabha polls scheduled to be held on April 23. He urged the court to postpone the hearing in the PIL filed by IAS-turned-activist Harsh Mander.

The court acceded to his plea but asked the Chief Secretary to file “specific response with regard to release” of those foreigners detained in detention centres, especially those held up since long, after discussion with all concerned.

The court put the matter for consideration on April 25.

The court asked him to apprise it of possible "ways and means" that can be adopted for releasing about 900 illegal foreigners as advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Mander, suggested they can be enlarged on the surety of Indian nationals.