Principle of Non-Refoulement can prima facie be read within the ambit of Article 21 of the Constitution: Manipur HC

The Manipur High Court on Tuesday in the case Nandita Haksar v. State of Manipur & Ors, held that the principle of non Refoulement can prima facie be read within the ambit of Article 21 of the Constitution principle of non Refoulement can prima facie be read within the ambit of Article 21 of the Constitution.

The court in its order provided for interim relief to arrange safe transport and passage to Imphal for 7 Myanmarese individuals. The order was passed in a petition filed by Nandita Haksar that sought to seek directions from State of Manipur for providing a safe passage for 7 Myanmar based persons that included 4 adults and 3 children that wanted to travel to Delhi in order to seek protection from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir stated that, forcibly returning refugees to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution, can be read into Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The Court further stated that, it is aware that India is not a signatory the Geneva Refugee Convention, 1951, or the New York Protocol of 1967 but it is a member to the UDHR as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The protection given under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is not limited to citizens and can be availed by non-citizens also.

The Court directed the State to make the necessary arrangements for a safe passage for the 7 persons after looking into the possible threats involved.

The Court while posting the matter for next hearing ordered that no adverse action shall be taken in regard to the Myanmarese persons, be it any authority.

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