The Supreme Court has come down hard on the Assam Government and said that it was not treating the issue of deportation of illegal migrants seriously enough.
'This has gone too far. This has become a joke,' the court said. During the hearing, the court questioned the solicitor general, Mr. Tushar Mehta, regarding the whereabouts of the foreigners, whether the foreigners tribunal was functioning and whether the state’s law and order machinery was functioning to implement the tribunal’s order. The court gave the Assam Government time till May 27 to submit a detailed report on the functioning of the foreigners’ tribunal.
'How seriously Assam is considering this matter is quite evident from the absence of any officer to brief you in the matter. An officer sitting here (resident commissioner) files affidavit on detention centres in Assam,' says the bench led by the Chief Justice.
Recalling a 2005 order, the Supreme Court said, 'You must have gone through the order passed by this court in 2005 where this court has said Assam is facing the threat of external aggression... We would like to know what the Government of India and Assam has done about it to meet this threat of external aggression.'
Saying that the court did not think the problem was being tackled, the bench said, 'Assam will have to inform the court about the number of persons declared foreigners by the tribunals, number of persons detained at the detention centres and number of persons sent back to the country of origin. Assam also had to inform the number of foreign tribunals in the state is considered to be adequate and precise number of additional tribunals required immediately and near future.'
The Assam Government informed the Supreme Court that more than 50,000 migrants had been declared as foreigners in the past 10 years.
The sate government also said that around 900 migrants who had been declared foreigners were being kept in six detention centres in the state.
The Assam Government’s submission came on a January order by the court directing the Central and Assam governments to provide it with details of the number of people who had been declared as foreigners in the north-eastern state in the last 10 years by the Foreigners Tribunal and the number deported.
The court had also asked the state to file an affidavit on the total number of detention centres in the state and how many inmates they had.