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Indian Polity

Tough times:A file picture of a refugee camp in New Delhi.  

The fundamental right to basic amenities and a dignified life cannot be confined to the Rohingya alone, but has to extend to their Indian neighbours living in the same slum.

The Supreme Court cannot shine the spotlight on Rohingya refugees without doing anything for the Indian living in the adjacent slum, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud remarked on Monday.

Basic amenities

The court was hearing PIL pleas to provide the refugees with basic amenities. Justice Chandrachud, who is part of a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said the right to life under Article 21 was equally applicable to all, whether an Indian citizen or not.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said: “The Rohingya is a special category of people. They cannot go back to Myanmar. They are the worst of the worst. The problem here is justice.”

Additional Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, said every basic amenity was being provided to Rohingya without discrimination. But Justice Chandrachud said the government could not remain content with making general statements. “Do not make general statements. Make specific submissions like how many toilets you have built, etc,” Justice Chandrachud told Mr. Mehta.

The court directed the government to submit a report on the basic amenities provided to Rohingya camps in Delhi and Haryana. The next date of hearing is May 9.

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