The Delhi High Court Monday asked the FRRO and Delhi Police to coordinate and verify the nationality of three illegal migrants, claiming to be Bangladeshi nationals, who have sought repatriation to their country. The high court said the issue needs joint efforts and two authorities should verify their nationality from the Bangladesh High Commission.
It took note that Delhi Police and FRRO were passing the buck on each other. Justice Rekha Palli said the verification process be done within two weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on September 9. The court was hearing a petition by three people claiming to be Bangladeshi nationals who seek to be repatriated to their country.
The three, one of whom is a minor, said that it is unclear as to how they reached here and were presently residing in a night shelter. The court noted that there is no further progress in the matter as Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) has taken a stand that it is the Delhi Police which verifies the nationality of a person from the Bangladesh High Commission.
It also noted that according to the Delhi Police, represented through Naushad Ahmed Khan, it has already approached the high commission but no reply has been received as it is for the FRRO to verify the nationality. I am of the view that FRRO and concerned cell of the Delhi Police shall coordinate to verify the nationality of the petitioners from Bangladesh High Commission. The matter needs joint efforts and it shall be done within two weeks, the judge said.
The court further noted that notice was issued to the Bangladesh High Commission on April 12 and despite service of notice, none appeared for it. It said court notice be issued to the commission to ensure that they are duly represented in the case on September 9.
The court had earlier asked the Centre to share in a sealed cover its office memorandum pertaining to the deportation of illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, representing them, submitted that his clients may be allowed leave and the petition be disposed of.
In its affidavit filed in response to the petition, the Home Ministry and FRRO, Delhi, stated that since the foreign nationals here do not possess any travel documents such as visa or any document to prove their identity, they were illegal migrants who could be repatriated to their home country only after their nationality is confirmed. The affidavit further said that the task of detection and identification of illegal migrants from Bangladesh in the national capital was assigned to Delhi Police.
Explaining the procedure for deportation, the affidavit submitted that after receiving such Bangladeshi nationals, their movement is restricted and once arrangement for repatriation is made, they are sent to West Bengal where they are handed over to Indian Border Security Force for their passage through the immigration borders. It was also stated that since India shares a porous border with Bangladesh, there is an influx of illegal migrants from there and the procedure adopted for their repatriation is different and simpler from that of illegal migrants of other nationalities.
FRRO, Delhi being the civil authority has been repatriating illegal migrants of Bangladesh as per instructions issued by Ministry of Home Affairs… The above mentioned memorandums are secret in nature and can be produced in a sealed cover whenever ordered/required.., the affidavit said. Delhi Police had earlier informed the court that the three persons in question in the petition were not found to be involved in any criminal or other case.