New Delhi: The Supreme Court has instructed the Centre to furnish information regarding the number of Bangladeshi immigrants who were granted Indian citizenship in Assam between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971. A five-judge bench, led by CJI DY Chandrachud, is currently hearing up to 17 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of section 6A of the Citizenship Act, specifically concerning illegal immigrants in Assam. The bench has directed the state government to provide the data to the Centre, allowing it to file an affidavit by December 11.
The bench, consisting of judges Surya Kant, MM Sundresh, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, also sought information from the Centre on the steps taken to address illegal immigration into India, with a focus on the North Eastern states. "We are of the considered view that it would be necessary for the central government to provide data-based disclosures to the court. We direct that an affidavit be filed to this court on or before Monday," stated the bench.
The Supreme Court emphasized that the Centre's affidavit should specifically address the number of immigrants from Bangladesh granted Indian citizenship under section 6A of the Act. It should consider the number of people who migrated to India from Bangladesh between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971.
"How many persons have been detected to be foreigners under the Foreigners Tribunals Order 1964 with reference to the above period?" queried the bench.
The bench also inquired about the measures taken to address unauthorized immigration into India, with a specific focus on the Northeast region and the extent of the border fence in that area.
Earlier in the day, the bench questioned the Centre about singling out Assam while excluding West Bengal from the purview of section 6A of the Citizenship Act, despite the latter sharing a much larger border with Bangladesh.