A representation has been made to Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde to order the immediate release of declared foreigners detained at the six detention centres in Assam in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The representation made by the NGO, Justice and Liberty and Initiative, also urged the CJI to order that there should not be any fresh detention of declared foreigners till the health situation returns to normalcy.
The NGO appealed on humanitarian grounds, saying there are many old and ailing among the detainees who have been in these centres for over a decade.
Being human beings, they [detainees] also have at least the basic right to live and to not die of COVID-19 in the precincts of a prison which has despicable living conditions, the representation said.
The representation said the detainees were neither criminals nor a threat to the society. Their detention is akin to civil imprisonment.
The representation reminded the Supreme Court about its May 10, 2019 order to release detainees who have spent over three years behind the walls of the detention centres. But the NGO argued that the court, considering the precarious health situation and the fact that the detainees are financially feeble, should waive the three-year condition and that of payment of financial surety for their release.