A Bengaluru-based lawyer had contended that the children should not be kept in detention centres but “observational homes”, according to the Juvenile Justice Act.

Kids of immigrants to stay with parents in same detention centre Centre to Ktaka HC
news Child Rights Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 07:58

The Union government on Wednesday told the Karnataka High Court that children of undocumented/illegal immigrants would be staying with their parents in the same detention centres and no additional facility will be made for the children alone. The central government counsel added that these children will be given education at local government schools and the cost of the same will be borne by the Union government. 

The Centre’s submission came as the High Court bench, headed by Justice KN Phaneendra, was hearing a plea by an advocate, Sirajuddin Ahmed. He had contended that the children should not be kept in detention centres but “observational homes”, according to the Juvenile Justice Act.

This development came as the contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC) Bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after it was passed in the Lok Sabha.

The case pertains to a bail application filed by one Babul Khanin in September 2019 for 14 Bangladeshi immigrants and one Burmese immigrant, who were arrested in August 2018 from the Sarjapur police station limits in Bengaluru. Ahmed is representing one of the detained 14 immigrants from Bangladesh.

The matter will be heard again on Thursday.

Speaking to TNM, Ahmed said, “Why should children suffer even if their parents are found guilty of illegally immigrating. I am opposing this as this violates the International Human Rights Convention, in which India is a party. So all countries in the convention are bound to follow this.”

He also adds that as per the treaties, the state government is responsible for the upkeep of the immigrants (including the children) till the receiving country accepts them back. While detention centres for illegal immigrants are not illegal, keeping children in these centres is an abuse of child rights. 

“Children, irrespective of their nationalities, enjoy the Juvenile Justice Act in India. They have to be kept in special observational homes. Only parents can demand that children below the age of six live with them,” he added.

He further added in case the parents can arrange family members to take care of them, then it shoud be allowed too.

In the earlier hearings, the HC had asked the Karnataka government to reveal the details of the number of detention centres in the state for detaining illegal immigrants. It also directed the state government to spell out the plan to detain immigrants without documents currently residing in the state.

As earlier reported by TNM, the state government has repurposed a hostel built for SC/ST students in Nelamangala, around 40 km outside Bengaluru, into a detention centre for illegal immigrants. While the construction of the building is completed, it is only expected to be opened for use in January 2020. 

Read: The uncertain future of the Bangladeshi immigrants taken from Bengaluru to Kolkata





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