COVID-19: Release those who have served more than two years in detention centres, says Supreme Court

THE Supreme Court today ordered that the foreigner in the detention centres in Assam would be released if they have been in detention for two years. The court further clarified that their release would be on the same terms and conditions as those laid down by it vide order dated May 10, 2019, except that they should not be required to furnish a bond in the sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh only). Instead, they should be required to furnish a bond in the sum of Rs.5,000/- (Rupees five thousand only) with two sureties of the 8 like the sum of Indian citizens. Rest of the conditions as mentioned in the order dated May 10, 2019, would remain intact.

On May 10, 2019, the apex court had passed certain direction with regard to the release of detenues who had served a long period of detention in the detention centres awaiting their deportation was concerned. The court had said that the detenues who had completed more than three years may be released, subject to the following conditions:-

(a) Execution of bond with two sureties of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh only) each of Indian citizens;

(b) He or she specifies verifiable address of stay after release;

(c) Biometric of his/her iris (if possible) and all ten fingerprints and photos shall be captured and stored in a secured database before release from the detention centres. He or she shall report once every week to the Police Station specified by the Foreigners Tribunal;

(d) He or she shall notify any change of his or her address to the specified Police Station on the same day, and

(e) A quarterly report to be submitted by the Superintendent of Police (Border) to the Foreigners Tribunal regarding appearance of such released declared foreigner to concerned Police Station and in case of violation of condition, the DFN will be apprehended and produced before Foreigners Tribunal.”

Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, today submitted that it would be hazardous to release such people since they would again mix with rest of the population and it would be difficult to trace them, in case the Government resorts to certain steps under the law.

The court, however, noted that having regard to the present circumstances prevailing in the country and having regard to the fact that we have already permitted the release of prisoners and people under detention in general, and such detenues who have completed three years upon their declaration as foreigners, we see no reason why the period should not be reduced from three years to two years.

The petitioner had requested the court that the period of three years be reduced to one year so that detenues who have completed more than two years may be released, subject to the same conditions laid down by this Court vide order dated 10.05.2019 except the requirement to furnish a bond in the sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh only).


Read the Order here:


Also read: The unnecessary shadow – Notes from the ground