The Supreme Court (SC) on 17 December 2014 directed the Union Government to complete fencing work along Indo-Bangladesh border within three months.
The direction was given to check cross-border influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into Assam. It also asked the government to streamline the process to deport them back.
The court also asked the Union government why even after 67 years of independence, the eastern border is left porous while border with Pakistan is properly fenced. It further said that it would monitor the steps taken by the government and sought periodic status report after every three months.
The apex court, taking note of the existing mechanism for deportation and international protocol, also asked the government to hold discussions with the Bangladesh government for ensuring that illegal migrants are sent back.
Slew of measures suggested by the bench in its 70-page verdict includes
• To prevent illegal access to the country from Bangladesh, the bench advised fencing (double coiled wire fencing) in such parts or portions of the Indo-Bangladesh border (including Assam) where presently the fencing is yet to be completed
• Effective maintenance of continuous patrolling and vigil along the riverine boundary
• Patrolling and monitoring at vulnerable points in such parts of the international border that is considered as inhospitable on account of the difficult terrain, as these points could provide means of illegal entry
• For effective and intensive patrolling, motorable roads alongside the international border has been advised in the regions where they are either incomplete or have not been built
• Flood lights installation at the required points
• Asked to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam so that the entire updated NRC is published by the end of January 2016
• It asked the Union government to detect and deport all illegal migrants who came to Assam after 25 March 1971 and advised to award citizenship to the foreigners who came to India between 1 January 1966 and 24 March 1971 as per law
Constitutional Validity of Section 6A of Citizenship Act, 1955
With regard to this, the apex court referred the case to a larger bench to make a decision on the issue of Constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 with regard to the cut-off date for awarding citizenship to the migrants.
The bench said whether, Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, violates Articles 325 and 326 of the Constitution of India in that it has diluted the political rights of the citizens of the State of Assam.
The direction was passed by the SC bench comprising of Justice RF Nariman and Justice Ranjan Gagoi. These directions were given while hearing the pleas of Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, Assam Public Works and All Assam Ahom Association.
The three organizations had filed their plea in the aftermath of large-scale riots in the year 2012 and in 2014 in Assam that resulted in deaths of a large number of persons. The petitioners argued that the sovereignty and integrity of India is itself at stake as a massive influx of illegal migrants from a neighbouring country has affected the core constitutional value.
Where: in Assam
When: on 17 December 2014