June 10, 2020 1:21:14 am
In the course of an order saying illegal immigrants must remain under detention even if granted bail, the Karnataka High Court has directed the Centre and state governments to take steps to establish detention centres for illegal immigrants.
The directions by Justice K N Phaneendra came in the course of a recent order granting bail to a father-daughter duo, who were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in August 2018.
The two had moved the High Court for bail in September 2019.
The Centre and state governments should take “all necessary steps to establish as many as necessary detention centres at cities, districts and taluka places” as per norms laid down in an MHA detention centre manual to house illegal immigrants until their deportation to their home countries, the HC stated in an order pronounced in the matter on May 19.
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The bail plea was earlier reserved for order on February 20.
In its order granting bail to Babul Khan, 46, and his daughter Taniya, 20, who were among 13 people arrested by Bengaluru rural police for allegedly being illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, the court said that they should be kept at a detention centre with all facilities, as defined in MHA manual for detention centres.
“However, it is made clear that though the court is enlarging them on bail, they cannot be given free movements to wander across India as per their whims and fancies, till the case is decided or till the government decides whether they have to be deported to their mother country or not. Till that point of time, in my opinion, they shall be kept in a detention centre with all facilities,” Justice Phaneendra said.
Khan and Taniya claim to be part of a group of ragpickers from West Bengal. Their bail plea was filed last year amid a large-scale police crackdown on alleged illegal immigrants in Bengaluru. It resulted in deportation of 59 people being picked up from shanties in east Bengaluru to Bangladesh in November 2019.
In the course of the bail hearing, the High Court attempted to establish systems for detention of alleged illegal immigrants ahead of their deportation, which was found to be lacking in Karnataka.
The court said, “As soon as the offence under Foreigners Act and other laws is detected, and there is strong prima facie material to show that the detected person is a foreign national, and if he has no passport or visa, or if the visa is expired, and he has no right to stay in Indian territory, proceedings shall be immediately started to deport him to his nation…from the date of registration of FIR…” the court has stated in guidelines issued in its order.
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