NEW DELHI, April 9 - Assam Chief Secretary Alok Kumar on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that 1,000 more tribunals would be required to deal with the illegal migrants.
Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, the Chief Secretary said the State government has already proposed a Rs 900 crore budget for setting up these tribunals. But the CJI expressed doubts about how the State would find another 1,000 judges, that too, for a tenure of just three years.
The State government mentioned before the court that it has managed to deport only four out of 46,000 illegal foreigners identified in Assam. �Out of 46,000, you could only find 2,000. Of this, you could deport only four?� asked CJI Gogoi.
The Chief Secretary admitted that the �performance� of both the State and its task force to trace illegal foreigners and deport them has been �poor� and �not satisfactory� in the past five years. �Performance in the last five years has been poor,� Kumar acknowledged. �Put that on record,� CJI Gogoi told Kumar.
When the Chief Secretary tried to explain, CJI Gogoi broke in and asked, �Is your government being run in accordance with the Constitution?� The CJI referred to how 38 lakh of the 40 lakh people excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam have filed citizenship claims.
�If they fail in their claims, they will immediately file complaints with the foreigners tribunals in Assam. Do you know how many tribunals would be required to deal with such a large number of complaints?� the CJI asked. �Which good advocate would leave his practice and come for a three-year term as a tribunal judge?� he added.
The top court further directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit before April 25 suggesting measures for release of detainees languishing in Assam�s detention centres for years. �They cannot be released like how domestic criminals are released,� Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted.
�These (detention centres) are not places anyone would like to be. There are about 915 detainees, how long will they continue to be in custody?� the CJI asked. �We know their living conditions are bad,� he added.
In the previous hearing, Mehta had briefed the court that the �push-back� policy was dropped in 2013 and nowadays diplomatic channels are employed to determine the nationality of an illegal foreigner and to deport the person.
Meanwhile, All Assam Students Union (AASU) adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said that whatever they have been saying for years has been proven today. The Assam government has admitted that from 2015 to 2018, 46,000 illegal migrants have been identified, but only four have been deported.
�Those who are talking about jati, mati and bheti have failed and it has been proven that they are not sincere,� Bhattacharya said, indirectly targeting Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The foreigners� problem will be solved only through implementation of the Assam Accord, he said.