Decided on May 03,2021

Nandita Haksar Appellant


SANJAY KUMAR - (1.) The petitioner, Ms. Nandita Haksar, a human rights advocate, appears as a party-in-person. Her prayer in this writ petition is to allow the seven named Myanmarese citizens, who entered India illegally, to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
(2.) The petitioner's narrative: After the military coup in neighbouring Myanmar during February, 2021, the military junta banned Mizzima, an established Myanmarese media and news service, and arrested/detained several of its journalists. Of the seven Myanmarese persons that this writ petition is concerned with, Mr. Pau Khan Thawn and Ms. Cing San Lun, his niece by marriage, are journalists, while Mr. Si Thu Aung is a reporter/video-journalist, all working with Mizzima. The remaining four are Ms. Niang Go Man, wife of Mr. Pau Khan Thawn, and their three minor children, Master Nang Sian Mung (aged 10 years), Master Nang Khan Hau (aged 9 years) and Ms. Dim Sian Huai Nuam (aged 5 years). They fled their country fearing persecution and physical danger after the coup and the violence that broke out thereafter. They entered India and took shelter at Moreh in Tengnoupal district, Manipur. They sought the help of the petitioner as they feared that they would be sent back to Myanmar by the Assam Rifles, an Indian armed force, as they had come without proper travel documents. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, had directed the authorities of the border States in the North-East of India and the Assam Rifles to check the flow of illegal migrants coming into India from Myanmar, vide letter dated 10.03.2021. The petitioner pointed out that this communication did not draw a distinction between a 'migrant' and a 'refugee'. However, letter dated 29.03.2021 was issued by the Government of Manipur stating that it would come to the aid of Myanmarese nationals who had illegally entered the State. Given these circumstances and as the seven Myanmarese individuals are handicapped in approaching this Court on their own, the petitioner/party-in-person espouses their cause and seeks their safe passage to approach the UNHCR at New Delhi for protection.
(3.) By order dated 17.04.2021, this Court suo motu impleaded the Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence and External Affairs of the Union of India, represented by the respective Secretaries, and adjourned the case to enable the State and the Central Governments to put forth their stands. On 20.04.2021, an adjournment was sought by the learned counsel for the State and Central Governments as they were unable to complete instructions. However, taking note of the petitioner's prayer for interim relief, this Court directed the State authorities to arrange for the safe transport and passage of these seven persons from Moreh to Imphal. This order was passed in view of the threat of apprehension and deportation faced by them at that location. Pursuant to the above order, they were brought to Imphal and are presently stationed at the local residence of the petitioner. Further, as permitted by this Court, their details and particulars were checked by the Senior Immigration Officer at Moreh before they were brought here.;

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