Supreme Court unhappy over Modi govt’s vague affidavit on Indo-Bangla border fencing

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The Supreme Court today expressed its “regret” and serious “dissatifaction” over the “vague” affidavit filed by the Centre that actual construction work of the 263-km fencing along Indo-Bangladesh border will take three years and go beyond the year 2020.

“The statements made there (affidavit) are an exercise in vagueness with no specific details in spite of various orders of this court and passage of time,” a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said.

The bench was anguished that in one of the paragraphs in the affidavit, the authority concerned of the Centre stated that it will take 18 months to complete the work on a stretch of 13.38 km without giving any reason.

The affidavit has stated that “considering the geological features and terrain, this activity itself may take considerable time. Thereafter, actual construction would need more than three years, i.e the work is likely to be completed beyond the year 2020”.

The bench said the Centre should by next Tuesday furnish all details sought by it which will be taken up for perusal in due course.

It said there will be in-chamber proceedings next Tuesday during which deliberations will take place involving the coordinator of the border fencing project, chief secretary of Assam, the counsel for the state and some special officials like from National Register for Citizenship (NRC).

During the past hearings also, the apex court had rapped the Centre and the Assam government for “dragging their feet” on the illegal migrants issue and rejected their affidavits on steps taken to check influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into the northeastern state through the porous Indo-Bangla border.

The bench had then appointed senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika as court commissioner to physically verify the fencing and security across the Indo-Bangla border running through Assam and file a final report which was taken on record.

The court had also asked MHA to file an affidavit indicating steps taken by it on border fencing, construction of border roads, night patrolling, floodlighting and a scheme for deportation in consultation with the Bangladesh in terms of its December 17 order.

The court had earlier asked the Centre to detect and deport all illegal migrants who have come to Assam after March 25, 1971.

It, however, had said that the foreigners, who came to India between January 1, 1966 to March 24, 1971, be awarded citizenship as per the law.

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