New Delhi: Taking a serious view of the submission that at least 70,000 declared illegal migrants in Assam have vanished or mingled with the local population before they could be deported back, the Supreme Court on Monday summoned the state chief secretary on April 8.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, heading a bench with Justice Sanjiv Khanna told solicitor general Tushar Mehta appearing for Assam, “Your state is playing with this court. Your affidavit is an exercise in futility. Where is your chief secretary? Was he not present in the court during the last hearing.”
The SG replied that the chief secretary was not present today. Expressing his displeasure the CJI told the SG that the chief secretary should be present in the court on April 8 and he would not be allowed to return to the state till the court so permitted.
The Assam government, in its affidavit admitted that 70,000 individuals who were declared foreigners by the tribunal are untraceable now.
“They have mixed with the local population,” the State said in the case filed by social activist Harsh Mander, through advocate Prashant Bhushan in the Assam Detention Centres matter.
The case related to the plight and the living conditions of foreigners in Assam detention centres.
In the last hearing the CJI told the SG “only 52,000 have been declared as foreigners, though the NRC identified that there are 40 lakh illegal immigrants. Further only 166 have been deported so far. How will the people have confidence in your government.”
The CJI told the SG “what is your government planning to do to trace those people. Despite all your non-cooperation, we can pass orders under our constitutional powers. Should we do that?”