The Supreme Court today appointed area Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) as nodal officers who could be approached by the Rohingya immigrants living at Kalindi Kunj in Delhi and Mewat in Haryana with grievances relating to healthcare, water, sanitation and education.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra directed the appointment of SDMs as nodal officers after perusing a status report of the Centre which said that Rohingyas were being provided the same facilities as Indian citizens living in the neighboring slums in Haryana's Mewat district and Kalindi Kunj in south Delhi here.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, on April 9 had sought a comprehensive report on civic and other facilities being provided to Rohingyas at the camps after it was alleged by Zaffar Ullah, one of the petitioners, that the basic amenities like drinking water and toilets were not available which had led to the spread of diseases like diarrhoea among the refugees.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said only the parents, relatives or guardian of Rohingyas be allowed to take up the grievances with the area SDMs, appointed as nodal officers, and no activist be allowed to take up their cause.
The bench accepted the plea of the Centre and said the parents, guardians and family members of Rohingyas can move the SDMs with their grievances who will look into them.
"There was a need to lift the veil from the activists and they should not be allowed to put forth the grievances of Rohingyas with the nodal officers," the law officer said.
Mehta also read the report in the court and said the children of Rohingyas were being provided education, books, mid-day-meal in government schools in Mewat like any other Indian. He also said that facilities like primary health care, vaccination and ambulance were being provided at the Rohingya camps.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for two Rohingyas, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, said various basic facilites like education, health care and foodgrains, were being denied to the Rohingyas as they do not possess IDs like Aadhaar cards.
He said that Rohingyas may be provided with refugee IDs to avail the basic facilities as human beings.
The plea was vehemently opposed by the Centre which said that Rohingyas were being treated as human beings and their status as illegal immigrants did not change.
"I have made a legal submission. I can raise my voice also and answer this legally and politically," Kumar responded.
At the end of the hearing, the bench said it would commence later the final hearing on the petitions challenging the Centre's decision to deport over 40,000 refugees who came to India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination and violence against the community.
The refugees have sought permission to enter India, besides education and health care facilities and grant of refugee ID cards by the Foreigner Regional Registration Office. The Rohingyas, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine State of Myanmar, are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.
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