The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the state government to respond on how children of alleged illegal immigrants will be protected in the event of detention of the parents.
The court also told the state government that deportation process of a person accused of being an illegal immigrant must begin soon as an FIR is registered.
The single-judge bench of Justice K N Phaneendra posed the question on children of detainees after an advocate representing two alleged illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, arrested in September 2018, told the court that two young children of a woman, arrested by the police in Sarjapur area of rural Bengaluru, were housed at a children’s home, separated from their imprisoned mother for more than a year now.
Justice Phaneendra was hearing the bail of alleged illegal Bangladeshi immigrants Babul Khan, 46, and his daughter Taniya, 20.
The judge asked, “What happens if kids are separated from parents in the process? Grown-up children will be okay, but what if children are small, and what happens if their education is affected? Can the State do something?”
Justice Phaneendra observed, “Children are children even if they are children of illegal immigrants. What is the international convention we have to see and also what can be done.”
Assistant Solicitor General C Shashikantha informed the court that all children will be housed with their parents once detention centres are set up in the state over the next year, starting with one facility near Bengaluru in early-2020.
The court directed the government to file its response by December 4. Justice Phaneendra also indicated that alleged illegal immigrants must be detained at detention centres established as per international convention and not in prisons.
“Once FIR is registered and the person is arrested under Foreigners Act, then the process of deportation should begin immediately. The notification says mere registration of FIR can start the process,’’ the court said. “Once Foreigners Act is invoked by the police, the deportation process must start irrespective of outcome of the case. If secured, they (alleged illegal immigrant) should be brought to court and they should be put in detention centres.”
On Tuesday, the government had told the High Court that 35 detention centres will be set up across the state to house illegal foreigners before deportation.