A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi adjudicated the question of whether the members of the Rohingya community are entitled to refugee status and hence, immunity from deportation in August.
The Counsel for the petitioners Solicitor General Tushar Mehta prayed before the Court to afford the Rohingyas basic amenities to live in human conditions as required under the international law on refugees and to put a stay on their deportation.
Justice Anirudhha Bose asked the petitioners the basis for granting refugee status to non-citizens under Municipal Law and whether there was any policy, to which Senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves replied that Nation states themselves set up a department to handle claims of those being persecuted abroad, of asylum, of refugee status but India has no such department; it has a long standing relation with the UNHCR. There is an intensive interrogation to see if they are genuinely escaping persecution and after a detailed inquiry refugee status is issued. Economic migrants are not supposed to stay in the country but countries like Australia, have extended protection to migrants.
The Chief Justice fixed the matter for hearing in August.