SC to hear illegal Bangladeshi migrants’ children status in May

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) A constitution bench will hear in May whether the children of illegal Bangladeshi migrants to Assam born here can avail the benefit of citizenship under the existing law, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S.K. Kaul said it would hear the case during summer vacation when four constitution benches would sit from May 11 to July 1 to hear other contentious issues.

The bench would also hear then issue of constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act with regard to the cut-off date for awarding citizenship to the Bangladeshi migrants.

The court fixed the matter for May 11.

In July 2015, another bench of the apex court had referred to the constitution bench the question whether the children born to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants were Indian citizens by virtue of their being born here.

Section 3 of the Citizenship Act provides for citizenship by birth.

It had passed a slew of directions, including an order to the central government to complete fencing work along India-Bangladesh border within three months to check cross-border influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into Assam and streamline the process to deport them.

The bench, which was hearing various pleas arising out of its verdict on PILs on influx of illegal Bangladeshi migrants to Assam, however, decided to keep monitoring implementation of its directions.

It had also specified a time-table for updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, so that the entire updated NRC could be published by the end of January 2016. The time has now been extended up to March 2017.