SC faces data dilemma as Centre cites complexity in tracking illegal migrants
Guwahati (Agency): The Centre has apprised the Supreme Court that it won’t be able to furnish data on illegal migrants as collection of the data poses significant challenges due to the secretive nature of their entry.
The revelation came in response to the apex court’s examination of the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, specifically addressing illegal immigrants in Assam.
The government highlighted the complexity of detecting, detaining, and deporting such foreign nationals and asserted the impossibility of accurately collecting data on their presence in various parts of the country.
In its filed affidavit, the Centre highlighted that 17,861 individuals have been granted citizenship under the provision in question.
Responding to a query raised on December 7, the government had disclosed that 32,381 people were identified as foreigners by foreigners’ tribunals, referring to the period between 1966 and 1971.
Addressing the court’s inquiry about the estimated inflow of illegal immigrants into India after March 25, 1971, the Centre stated that these individuals enter the country without valid travel documents through clandestine and surreptitious means.
Over the past five years (2017-2022), the Centre reported the deportation of 14,346 foreigners.
In Assam, where 100 foreigners’ tribunals are currently operational, over 3.34 lakh cases have been disposed of as of October 31, 2023, with 97,714 cases still pending.
Additionally, the number of cases awaiting resolution before the Gauhati High Court, stemming from the orders of the foreigners’ tribunal, is 8,461 as of December 1, 2023.
The affidavit also provided insights into the efforts made by the Assam Police, including border fencing, patrols, and other mechanisms to deter infiltration.
Earlier on December 7, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to furnish data on the number of Bangladeshi immigrants granted Indian citizenship in Assam between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971.
The court is presently examining a batch of pleas challenging the validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, with a focus on illegal immigration in Assam. (Courtesy: Northeast News)