The Gauhati High Court is considering an important case in which it is looking into the rights of a proclaimed foreigner or illegal migrant in India prior to deportation.
In the most recent hearing, held on April 28 before a division bench of Justice AM Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan, Deputy Solicitor General RKD Choudhury submitted that, according to the census, the Muslim population in Assam increased after 1951. This is a "ploy to take this part" of the country away from another, he claims.
“This abrupt growth of population is not simply multiplying the people here, it has come over from the other side and as I have submitted ... at first, they first took refuge in the reserves ...," Choudhury said.
Continuing, he said: “In 1905, when there was a division of Bengal on the basis of religion… the Britishers have settled these people along the rivers and there was a line called inner line. They were settled there but they did not have any legal backing because only on paper it was there… ”
In response to a court question on what rights a person deemed a foreigner has if deportation is not carried out, Choudhury stated that the individual will only have the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
When another counsel assisting the court on the issue contended that they, too, would be entitled to the right to equality under Article 14, Justice Barua asked the counsel to make clear submissions on how the person designated as a foreigner is entitled to Article 14.
“Straightaway says that Article 14 will be available to them on the basis articles published on the internet cannot be relied upon. We cannot base our views only on articles available on the internet,” Justice Barua said, adding Article 14 is "not right to equality" but "equality but "equality before the law and equal protection of the law"
“Equal protection means the right to equal treatment in similar circumstances and if the circumstance is different, the treatment may be different,” the judge said.
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