The Supreme Court on Tuesday lashed out at the Assam government for its failure to identify and deport illegal foreigners from the state and detaining them in facilities that are "sub-human" and "pathetic". Directing the state government to hold deliberations with Foreign and Home ministries, the top court said that the detention of illegal foreigners should be the last option.
"Why haven't you (Assam) done anything for the last 50 years? Which country will accept them (the deported persons)?" Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
"Don't you think some explanation is called from state government as to why these people are detained for such a long period? Many of them have been detained for last 9-10 years. What is the justification," the court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
Mr Mehta, who was appearing for the Assam government, said there was a need for evolving a mechanism for repatriating them and it should be done quickly.
The judges also raised several issues connected with the detention centre and said that the detainees cannot be held for indefinite period.
"For all these years, the living condition at the detention centre are far from satisfactory. People are detained for the last 10 years. You are unable to repatriate them," the court said,
The judges, who agreed to the request of the solicitor general to give him two weeks' time to address the concerns raised by it, said the case will be heard again on March 13.
"We are concerned that how 52,000 illegal immigrants will be going to be deported. You follow the policy of pushing them from one place and they come back from another place.
The top court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by activist Harsh Mander through advocate Prashant Bhushan on the condition of foreign settlers in detention centres. The plea alleges that they are kept in detention indefinitely just because they are not Indians and are treated as "illegal aliens".
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