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K’taka HC questions on detention centres reveals govt’s plans to build 35 centres across state

This is probably the first case where the crucial issue of detention centres has been brought forth by Karnataka High Court. With the increasing furore around NRC (national Register of Citizens) and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which is yet to be tabled in the Parliament, the question of detention centres --which have their deplorable unaccountable trajectory in Assam-- has now a relevance in Karnataka.

Sabrangindia 02 Dec 2019

detention centre

The discussion around detention centres has come up in a case of bail application filed by Babul Khan and 11 other Bangladeshi immigrants who were arrested at Kommasandra village in Anekaltaluk on August 22, 2018. The court is monitoring the actions initiated by the State to identify overstaying foreigners and setting up of FDCs.In previous hearings in this case, the court had even, reportedly, raised serious questions from the additional chief secretary  (ACS) Home department, on the detention of immigrants in the centre.

During the hearing on the same day, ACS, Home department had filed an affidavit before the court on Monday stating that illegal immigrants would be treated as per the guidelines and will be kept in the detention centre. The court, however, asked the government to file an affidavit on the facilities available in the detention centre,  at the next hearing.
 

Previous submissions by the government

It was also submitted before the court by Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) of India C. Shashikantha, that overstaying foreigners and illegal immigrants will have to be kept in FDCs in India till deportation. However, in case their country disowns them, then as per international conventions they have to be permanently lodged in FDCs and to be looked after till death. The government also informed the court that 612 cases had been registered against 866 foreigners for overstaying their visa period, and for violation of various laws, including provisions of Indian Penal Code and Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

The Karnataka government also informed the court that it has identified 35 spaces for temporary Foreigners Detention Centres (FDC) in all the districts for lodging illegal immigrants after they are either released on bail or on completion of imprisonment in criminal cases.


Court unhappy with govt’s answers

During the recent hearing, however, the court was disappointed with the response of the government and found it insufficient. As reported in detail by the Deccan Herald, the court expressed it unhappiness over the information submitted by the government regarding the ‘temporary detention centre’ at Sondekoppa of Bengaluru north taluk. Hence, the court has now asked the Home department to submit an affidavit on the permanent detention centre to house illegal immigrants or foreign citizens in various cases.


Other concerns raised by HC

The High Ciurt also asked the government on it plans on dealing with children of alleged undocumented immigrants and how will these children be protected if their parents are detained. The judge said,“If the child is a minor, they can be allowed to be kept with their parents. But what if he/she is not and the parents don’t have the capacity to take their care, outside the detention centre. What is the fate of such children? The state will have to make arrangements. If there is no solution, we will have to pass directions.” The judge further added, “However, dignity of foreign nationals will have to be maintained. The detention centres should be like hostels for students or senior citizens with all basic facilities. Court cannot issue directions to foreign nationals to report attendance to FRRO offices.”

The court also told the government that deportation process of accused must begin as soon as FIR is registered, irrespective of the outcome of the case. The ASG submitted that once detention centres are established in the state, all children will be housed with their parents. The first detention centre, near Bengaluru, will be established in early-2020.

The High Court judge further clarified that if offence is minor or under Foreigners Act then the foreign national can be kept in detention centres with bifurcation of male/female but if it’s a serious offence then bail will probably be rejected. This was probably made clear by the court since the main consideration in the case is of granting bail to the alleged undocumented immigrants.

In further hearings, it is likely that if the High Court continues its probe, the government will have to reveal more of its plans for detention centres, giving a peep into the preparedness of the BJP-run State for the impending and controversial NRC. Will the government submit to the Court the “Model” detention centre manual issued to it by the Centre, that has still not been released in public domain? Will the centre finally admit that states apart from Assam are in the process of building detention centres / camps as per tis instructions?

The next date of hearing in the case is December 4.


Related:

‘35 spaces identified for foreigners detention centres in districts’
'How Will You Safeguard Interest Of Children Of Foreign Nationals Who Are Kept In Detention Centres' : Karnataka HC Asks Centre/State
How Will Children of Detained Foreigners Be Protected: Karnataka HC Asks Govt
Illegal immigrants will be in detention govt tells HC
HC asks home dept for details on detention centres
So, what exactly is a ‘model’ detention camp?
“There are detention camps only in Assam, but Centres being set up in States/UT”: MHA

K’taka HC questions on detention centres reveals govt’s plans to build 35 centres across state

This is probably the first case where the crucial issue of detention centres has been brought forth by Karnataka High Court. With the increasing furore around NRC (national Register of Citizens) and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which is yet to be tabled in the Parliament, the question of detention centres --which have their deplorable unaccountable trajectory in Assam-- has now a relevance in Karnataka.

detention centre

The discussion around detention centres has come up in a case of bail application filed by Babul Khan and 11 other Bangladeshi immigrants who were arrested at Kommasandra village in Anekaltaluk on August 22, 2018. The court is monitoring the actions initiated by the State to identify overstaying foreigners and setting up of FDCs.In previous hearings in this case, the court had even, reportedly, raised serious questions from the additional chief secretary  (ACS) Home department, on the detention of immigrants in the centre.

During the hearing on the same day, ACS, Home department had filed an affidavit before the court on Monday stating that illegal immigrants would be treated as per the guidelines and will be kept in the detention centre. The court, however, asked the government to file an affidavit on the facilities available in the detention centre,  at the next hearing.
 

Previous submissions by the government

It was also submitted before the court by Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) of India C. Shashikantha, that overstaying foreigners and illegal immigrants will have to be kept in FDCs in India till deportation. However, in case their country disowns them, then as per international conventions they have to be permanently lodged in FDCs and to be looked after till death. The government also informed the court that 612 cases had been registered against 866 foreigners for overstaying their visa period, and for violation of various laws, including provisions of Indian Penal Code and Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

The Karnataka government also informed the court that it has identified 35 spaces for temporary Foreigners Detention Centres (FDC) in all the districts for lodging illegal immigrants after they are either released on bail or on completion of imprisonment in criminal cases.


Court unhappy with govt’s answers

During the recent hearing, however, the court was disappointed with the response of the government and found it insufficient. As reported in detail by the Deccan Herald, the court expressed it unhappiness over the information submitted by the government regarding the ‘temporary detention centre’ at Sondekoppa of Bengaluru north taluk. Hence, the court has now asked the Home department to submit an affidavit on the permanent detention centre to house illegal immigrants or foreign citizens in various cases.


Other concerns raised by HC

The High Ciurt also asked the government on it plans on dealing with children of alleged undocumented immigrants and how will these children be protected if their parents are detained. The judge said,“If the child is a minor, they can be allowed to be kept with their parents. But what if he/she is not and the parents don’t have the capacity to take their care, outside the detention centre. What is the fate of such children? The state will have to make arrangements. If there is no solution, we will have to pass directions.” The judge further added, “However, dignity of foreign nationals will have to be maintained. The detention centres should be like hostels for students or senior citizens with all basic facilities. Court cannot issue directions to foreign nationals to report attendance to FRRO offices.”

The court also told the government that deportation process of accused must begin as soon as FIR is registered, irrespective of the outcome of the case. The ASG submitted that once detention centres are established in the state, all children will be housed with their parents. The first detention centre, near Bengaluru, will be established in early-2020.

The High Court judge further clarified that if offence is minor or under Foreigners Act then the foreign national can be kept in detention centres with bifurcation of male/female but if it’s a serious offence then bail will probably be rejected. This was probably made clear by the court since the main consideration in the case is of granting bail to the alleged undocumented immigrants.

In further hearings, it is likely that if the High Court continues its probe, the government will have to reveal more of its plans for detention centres, giving a peep into the preparedness of the BJP-run State for the impending and controversial NRC. Will the government submit to the Court the “Model” detention centre manual issued to it by the Centre, that has still not been released in public domain? Will the centre finally admit that states apart from Assam are in the process of building detention centres / camps as per tis instructions?

The next date of hearing in the case is December 4.


Related:

‘35 spaces identified for foreigners detention centres in districts’
'How Will You Safeguard Interest Of Children Of Foreign Nationals Who Are Kept In Detention Centres' : Karnataka HC Asks Centre/State
How Will Children of Detained Foreigners Be Protected: Karnataka HC Asks Govt
Illegal immigrants will be in detention govt tells HC
HC asks home dept for details on detention centres
So, what exactly is a ‘model’ detention camp?
“There are detention camps only in Assam, but Centres being set up in States/UT”: MHA

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