Migrants’ influx : SC asks Centre to secure Indo-Bangla border

New Delhi : The Supreme Court asked the Centre to release funds for fencing India-Bangladesh border to check cross-border influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into Assam, saying the task has to be completed soon.

A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman perused the Centre’s status report on the progress made in the works relating to securing and fencing the international border and said the Madhukar Gupta committee would “oversee and supervise” it.

“Without going into the merits of the submissions, we are of the view that the task of border fencing and physical manning of the border (where fencing could not be done) has to undertaken and concluded,” the bench said.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Patwalia, appearing for the Centre, said some tenders have been finalised and work orders issued to successful bidders to undertake the exercise of border fencing.

He also apprised the court that in some cases, the process of re-tendering have been initiated and effort was on to acquire land.

Assam government has sought Rs 2.96 crore for acquiring land to be used for creating infrastructure to secure the border, Patwalia said.

On the issue of releasing funds, the ASG said the Expenditure and Finance Committee would meet on March 10 to decide the issue, which would be attended by the Home Secretary also.

The apex court also made clear that the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify original residents of Assam would continue under state coordinator Prateek Hajela, who said the task was tedious and taking time.

“We are making it very, very clear (to the state) that whatever manpower they (Hajela committee) want, has to be given. We want this work to be done quickly,” the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on April 19.

It was hearing the pleas of Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, Assam Public Works and All Assam Ahom Association filed in the aftermath of large-scale riots in 2012 and 2014 resulting in the death of a large number of persons.

It was alleged that sovereignty and integrity of India was at stake as a massive influx of illegal migrants from the neighbouring country has affected the “core constitutional values”.

Earlier, the bench had passed a slew of directions, including an order to the Centre to complete the fencing work along the Indo-Bangla border to check cross-border influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into Assam and streamline the process to deport them back.

The bench had decided to keep monitoring the implementation of its directions.

The apex court had also laid down a time-table for updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam so that the entire updated register is published by the end of January, 2016.

It had earlier appointed a panel of three former High Court judges, headed by Justice Aftab H Saikia, to monitor the NRC updation.

The apex court had also asked NRC to consider the request for registration by persons in Assam who were not residents of the state till March 24, 1971, if they provide proof of their citizenship of other Indian states.

In December 2014, the apex court had referred to a larger bench the issue of constitutional validity of section 6A of the Citizenship Act with regard to the cut-off date for awarding citizenship to the migrants.

It had asked the Centre to detect and deport all illegal migrants who have come to Assam after March 25, 1971 and hold discussions with the Bangladesh government to ensure that illegal migrants are sent back.

It had ruled that the foreigners, who came to India between January 1, 1966 to March 24, 1971, be awarded citizenship as per law.

Source : Economic Times