Constitution bench to hear plea on Bangladeshi minorities in India

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Constitution bench to hear plea on Bangladeshi minorities in India

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a Constitution bench a plea seeking citizenship status for the “displaced persons” belonging to minority communities of Bangladesh, who have taken shelter in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya and some other states of India.

Referring the matter to the Constitution bench, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul tagged it with another matter relating to the question whether the children of illegal Bangladeshi migrants born in India could avail the benefit of citizenship under the existing law.

The hearing by the Constitution bench would commence on May 11, 2017. However, for framing of issues, a hearing would take place on April 19.

The petition by NGO Swajan, Bimalangshu Roy Foundation and the Joint Action Committee for Bengali Refugees has sought direction to the Centre and Assam “not to expel/ push-back the ‘displaced persons’ belonging to minority communities of Bangladesh, who have been forced to take shelter in various parts of Assam”.

The petitioner organisations have sought direction that the government should ensure that these people are “not harassed and enjoy basic human rights and reasonable living conditions including access to courts, facility of primary education, of residence, permission to work and to travel, and also to protect their life and liberty”.

In July 2015, another bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman had referred to the Constitution bench the question whether the children born to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants were Indian citizens by virtue of their being born here.

The Constitution bench will also examine the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act with regard to the cut-off date for awarding citizenship to the Bangladeshi migrants.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.