Patna High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjay Karol, CJ and S. Kumar, J., asked the State government to sensitize people regarding the consequences of illegal migration, how to identify them and requirement to inform the officers concerned of the presence of illegal migrants in the State.
The Court was addressing the case of two minor girls, who undisputedly were foreign national, were housed at the After Care Home, Patna and for a considerably long period and no action was taken by the State in pursuing the matter for their repatriation. Noticing that the affidavits filed by the government were conspicuously silent of the mechanism for expediting the process of deportation of foreign nationals, more so, from the neighbouring country i.e. Bangladesh, the Bench had asked the State to set up detention centres on the lines of Chapter 2.6 of Model Detention Centre/Holding Centres/Camp Manual, 2019.
On being informed by the State that it had decided to establish detention/holding centre/camp outside the jail premises for restricting the movement of illegal foreign nationals awaiting for their deportation even after completion of sentence due to non-confirmation of their nationality, the Bench asked the government, sought reply of the State on the following:
- What was the time frame for setting up of detention centre and
- Whether the temporary detention centre was equipped with the requisite minimum infrastructure stipulated under Chapter-4 of the Manual, 2019.
Need for Sensitization of General Populace
The Foreigners Act, 1946 imposes an obligation upon master of the vessel as also the passengers travelling therein and the housekeepers/lodgers permitting accommodation to such foreigners whose entry in India is contrary to law.
Therefore, directing the State to apprise the Court of the steps taken for sensitizing the general populace of Bihar, the Bench emphasised on making the people aware of mechanism in place for identification and deportation of the persons suspected to be illegal migrant, more so from Bangladesh and the fact that such persons are required to be immediately deported for their entry in India is illegal under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and that their custody is required to be immediately handed over to the Nodal Officer, Government of West Bengal. The Bench opined,
“Such process of sensitizing people, more so along the border areas, must be carried vigorously both through electronic and print media as also associating the public spirited persons/N.G.O’s for deportation of illegal migrants is of paramount importance and in national interest.”
Hence, the Bench had placed following queries before the State and had sought replying on:
- Whether the Government had worked out any mechanism for furnishing information on-line i.e. through digital mode to the concerned Agency;
- Whether the record sought to be maintained under Sections 6 and 7 of the Foreigners Act, 1946 is digitalized
- Whether there is any mechanism in place for facilitating furnishing such information on-line.
- Whether Authorized Officers under the Foreigners Act, 1946 Act are verifying the record and monitoring the movement of any unauthorized persons or not.
[Marium Khatoon v. State of Bihar, Criminal Writ Jurisdiction Case No.390 of 2020, decided on 18-08-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For the Petitioner/s: Mr Upendra Kumar Singh, Advocate,
Amicus Curiae: Mr Ashish Giri
For the Respondent/s: Mr P.K. Verma, A.A.G. 3, Mr Sanjay Kumar Ghosarvey, AC to AAG 3, Mr Dr. K.N. Singh, ASG, Mr Kumar Priya Ranjan, CGC, Mr Abhijit Gautam, JC to ASG