The Manipur High Court closed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed highlighting the difficulties being faced by people from Myanmar who were taking shelter in the State of Manipur.
The Petition filed by the practicing Advocates of the High Court further sought directions to the State authorities to provide them adequate food, shelter, health-care and other basic necessities.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice MV Muralidaran was informed that the Government of India was considering enactment of a comprehensive law relating to refugees but pending such enactment, a Standard Operating Procedure was floated on 29.12.2011 to deal with foreign nationals who were claiming the status of refugees. This Standard Operating Procedure was revised on 20.03.2019. In terms thereof, such foreign nationals are to be housed in designated camps or shelters, pending consideration of their claims for long term Visas.
Affidavit dated 22.09.2022 was filed by the Deputy Secretary, Department of Home, Government of Manipur, stating that the entire premises of Sadbhavana Mandop at Churachandpur were declared as a Detention Centre, vide order dated 01.04.2021, for the people from Myanmar who had entered into the State of Manipur.
He further stated that 5 (five) local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) of Churachandpur had voluntarily started providing food and lodging requirements to the Myanmarese Nationals in the Detention Centre. However, acceding to their request, the Superintendent, District Jail, Churachandpur District, allowed the foreigners to prepare their own food using the supplies provided by the CSOs as they are not accustomed to Indian food. Further, the Superintendent, District Jail, Churachandpur, is stated to have requisitioned 1 (one) Medical Officer and 2 (two) Nurses from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Churachandpur for utilization of their services at the Detention Centre. Any medical ailment reported by these Myanmarese Nationals was immediately being brought to the notice of the Medical Officer at the District Hospital, Churachandpur, and medicines were being supplied by the Prisons Department.
In the light of the aforestated affidavit, M. Rakesh, Counsel for the petitioners, stated that sufficient food and facilities are being provided to the Myanmarese Nationals who are taking shelter in the State of Manipur and that no further orders are required to be passed in this case.