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Ba Aung and another vs. Union of India and others

Date : 12/12/2006

Ba Aung & Ors vs Union of India & Ors

The court decided that where refugees have been granted resettlement by UNHCR then this will takes precedence. In this case refugees were detained and were due to be deported under the Foreigners Act 1946, even though they had been granted resettlement in Sweden.

Case Details and Status
The petitioners were recognised Burmese refugees who had been convicted at trial for offences under section 14 of the Foreigners Act 1946. The Act sets out various conditions which must be satisfied by non-citizens residing in India, including: registration with the authorities and holding valid passports. Finding the Petitioners guilty of being illegally present on Indian territory under section 14, the trial court had ordered their detention and issued a deportation order.

The petitioners were later granted resettlement in Sweden by the UNHCR. They approached the High Court by filing a writ petition seeking the court’s permission to allow them to travel to Sweden. They argued that since they were refugees they should not be deported and should be allowed to travel to Sweden in order to resettle there.

At a previous hearing, two weeks previously, the court had ordered the State Government to file an affidavit and to inform the court whether the State Government continued to detain the Appellants for a particular purpose. No response was given to these orders.

The court took the view that the continuing detention of the asylum seekers was unlawful and an affront to their personal liberty. It stated that since the State Government had not provided good reason for their continued detention, the State Government should release them. The State authorities were therefore ordered to release the petitioners from detention.

As a result, the petitioners were released from custody, and were allowed to travel to Sweden.

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