More Norms, Less Justice: Refugees, the Republic, and everyone in between

Article

Abstract

The paper argues for conflating refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as two sides of a work-in-progress postcolonial state. To be sure, aliens, refugees, IDPs, and stateless persons are separate legal entities. Nevertheless, this fragmented normative regime stands testimony to more laws and less justice. Many Asian states have no domestic refugee law. India, a common law system, takes a case by case approach as refugees are given “temporary shelter on humanitarian considerations”. Ironically, a work-in-progress postcolonial state sustains even de jure citizens as de facto stateless persons; the erstwhile Indo-Bangla enclaves for more than half a century were an apt example. Surely, the raison d’être of international law on refugees is to end human suffering, if needed, by transcending the absence of positive laws. A constitutional and political desire to minimise human suffering alone could cut the rigour of such positivist legal narratives. The Delhi High Court seemingly walked that path in Koul v Estate Officer noting “refugees and IDPs appear to be similarly situated”. Rising terrorism has made states increasingly believe in a security narrative all the same. A simultaneous emergence of a demographic anxiety particularly in India’s North-eastern states increasingly pits aliens and refugees against the domiciled indigenous and tribal people.

Keywords

Indian judiciary Inductive approach Chakma doctrine Kashmiri precedent Indian Constitution “Aggression” on the state Aliens Refugees IDPs Law v.justice 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper is for both Suk, a “happy” Thai Citizen, and So-Tha-Naymoo, a refugee from Myanmar, who, their legal status notwithstanding, share a common lived experience in Bangkok. I thank Arpita Sarkar, Anupama Sharma, Upendra Baxi, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Sonali Singh, B.S. Chimni, Abhimanyu George Jain, Sarbani Sen, Khin Myo Aye, Jessica Field, Sushant Chandra, Aljo Joseph, and Jhuma Sen for comments and conversations. I thank Shravani Joshi Sameer for her excellent research assistance. I am solely responsible for the view expressed.

References

  1. Ahmed, S. 2006. The United States and Terrorism in Southwest Asia: September 11 and Beyond. International Security 26: 79–92.Google Scholar
  2. Alimia, Sanaa. 2017. Deporting Refugees, The Dawn.Google Scholar
  3. Aljazeera. 2012. PM Says Bangladesh Cannot Help Rohingya.Google Scholar
  4. Allain, Jean. 2001. The Jus Cogens Nature of non-refoulement. International Journal of Refugee Law 13: 533–558.Google Scholar
  5. Amrith, Sunil. 2013. Crossing the Bay of Bengal. London/Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Baron, Nancy. 2004. Refugees and Internally Displaced People. In Trauma Interventions in War and Peace, ed. B.L. Green et al, 243–270. Boston: Springer.Google Scholar
  7. Baxi, Upendra. 2000. Postcolonial Legality. In A Companion to Postcolonial Studies, ed. Henry Schwarz and Sangeeta Ray, 540–555. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Baxi, Upendra. 2008. The Future of Human. Rights, 3rd ed. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Betts, Judith, and Claire Higgins. 2017. The Sri Lankan Civil War and Australia’s Migration Policy Response: A Historical Case Study with Contemporary Implications. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies 4: 272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chimni, B.S. 1988. The Geopolitics of Refugee Studies: A View from the South. Journal of Refugee Studies 11: 350–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chimni, B.S. 1994. The Legal Condition of Refugees in India. Journal of Refugee Studies 7: 378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chimni, B.S. 2000. International Refugee Law: A Reader, 8th ed. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Chimni, B.S. 2003. The Status of Refugees in India: Strategic Ambiguity. In Refugees and the State: Practices of Asylum and Care in India 1947–2000, ed. Ranabir Samaddar, 443–449. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Chowdhory, Nasreen. 2013. Marginalization and Exclusion: Politics of Non-Citizen Rights in Postcolonial South Asia. Refugee Watch 42: 2.Google Scholar
  15. Conklin, William. 2014. Statelessness: The Enigma of the International Community. Portland: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Durant, Will. 2006. The Story of Philosophy. New York: Pocket Books.Google Scholar
  17. ET Bureau, 2017. Will do all to defeat citizenship bill: BJP Ally. The Economic Times.Google Scholar
  18. Ehrlich, Ludwik. 1921. Comparative Public Law and the Fundamentals of Its Study. Columbia Law Review 21: 623–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Falcone, Jessica, and Tsering Wangchuk. 2008. We’re Not Home”: Tibetan Refugees in India in the Twenty-First Century. India Review 7: 164–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Foster, Michelle, and Hélène Lambert. 2016. Statelessness as a Human Rights Issue: A Concept Whose Time Has Come. International Journal of Refugee Law 28: 564–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gil-Bazo, María-Teresa. 2015. Asylum as a General Principle of International Law. International Journal of Refugee Law 27: 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goodrich, Peter. 1985. Legal hermeneutics: An essay on precedent and interpretation. Liverpool Law Review 7: 99–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goodwin-Gill, Guy. 1983. The Refugees in International Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  24. Goodwin-Gill, Guy. 2016. The Movements of People between States in the 21st Century: An Agenda for Urgent Institutional Change. International Journal of Refugee Law 28: 679–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guha, Ramchandra. 2007. India After Gandhi. Lodon: Picador.Google Scholar
  26. Gupta, Shishir & Anand, Jatin. 2013. Was Bodh Gaya revenge for attacks on Rohingya Muslims? The Hindustan Times. Google Scholar
  27. Gupta, Smita. 2014. Mamata Wants Compensation Package for Land Swap. The Hindu. New Delhi.Google Scholar
  28. Hegde, V.G. 2010. Indian Courts and International Law. Leiden Journal of International Law 23: 53–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. HT Correspondent, 2017b. Issue Long-term visa to Pak Refugees: HC to Govt. The Hindustan Times. Google Scholar
  30. Jain, Abhimanyu G. 2015. Indian Practice Relating to International law. Indian Journal of International Law 55: 557–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jayal, Niraja Gopal. 2013. Citizenship and its Discontents: An Indian History. Cambridge & London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Kapur, Ratna. 2013. Gender, Sovereignty and the Rise of a Sexual Security Regime in International Law and Postcolonial India. Melbourne Journal of International Law 14: 317.Google Scholar
  33. Keefe-Fox, Claire. 2016. Siamese Tears: The Kingdom’s Struggle Against the Colonial Superpowers. Bangkok: River Books.Google Scholar
  34. Kingsbury, Benedict. 1998. Indigenous Peoples in International Law: A Constructivist Approach to the Asian Controversy. American Journal of International Law 92: 414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Krishnan, Jayanth, et al. 2014. Grappling at the Grassroots: Access to Justice in India’s Lower Tier. Harvard Human Rights Journal 27: 151–189.Google Scholar
  36. Kritsiotis, Dino. 2009. Public International Law and Its Territorial Imperative. Michigan Journal of International Law 30: 547–548.Google Scholar
  37. Lenin, V.I. 1992. The State and Revolution. Robert Service. trans. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  38. Lenoble, Jacques. 1986. The implicit ideology of human rights and its legal expression. Liverpool Law Review 8: 153–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lorca, Arnulf Becker. 2010. Universal International Law: Nineteenth-Century Histories of Imposition and Appropriation. Harvard International Law Journal 51: 475–551.Google Scholar
  40. McAdam, Jane. 2017. The Enduring Relevance of the 1951 Refugee Convention. International Journal of Refugee Law 29: 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Min, Jin Lee. 2017. Pachinko. London: Apollo.Google Scholar
  42. Mitra, Devirupa. 2017. Modi Government Affidavit on Rohingya Refugees Reverses India’s Long-Held Stand on Non-Refoulement. The Wire.Google Scholar
  43. Phukan, Sandeep. 2017. BJP States tell Police to Push back Rohingya. The Hindu. New Delhi.Google Scholar
  44. PTI. 2015. India-Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement: Security, a prime concern after enclaves exchange. The Hindu. .Google Scholar
  45. PTI. 2017a. Centre Refuses to Tell Supreme Court It Won’t Deport Rohingya Refugees. The Wire.Google Scholar
  46. PTI. 2017b. Kiren Rijiju says rights of Arunachal Pradesh’s indigenous people will not be compromised by influx of Chakma, Hajong refugees. Firstpost.Google Scholar
  47. Ragland, Tomas K. 1994. Burma’s Rohingyas in Crisis: Protection of “Humanitarian” Refugees under International Law. Boston College Third World Law Journal 14: 305.Google Scholar
  48. Samaddar, Ranabir. 2017. Power and Responsibility at the Margins: The Case of India in the Global Refugee Regime. Refuge 33: 42.Google Scholar
  49. Sands, Philippe. 2017. Of Refugees and Resignation. UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 6: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sanderson, Mike. 2015. The Role of International Law in Defining the Protection of Refugees in India. Wisconsin International Law Journal 33: 46.Google Scholar
  51. Schwarzenberger, Georg. 1947. The Inductive Approach to International Law. Harvard Law Review 60: 539–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sen, Amartya. 2009. The Idea of Justice. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  53. Sen, Sarbani. 2001. Paradoxes of the International Regime of Care: The role of the UNHCR in India”. In Refugees and the state, practices of asylum and care in India, 1947–2000, ed. R. Samaddar, 396–442. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  54. Singh, Prabhakar. 2006. ‘Austin’s Positivism’: Is it a Retrospective Investigation of Contractualist’s Sovereign? Global Jurists Topics.  https://doi.org/10.2202/1535-167X.1188.Google Scholar
  55. Singh, Prabhakar. 2010. Indian International Law: From a Colonized Apologist to a Subaltern Protagonist. Leiden Journal of International Law 23: 79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Singh, Prabhakar. 2015. Sino-Indian Attitudes to International Law: of Nations, States and Colonial Hangovers. Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 3: 348–374.Google Scholar
  57. Singh, Prabhakar. 2017. Do not shut the doors on them. The Telegraph, Calcutta.Google Scholar
  58. Singh, Upinder. 2016. The Idea of Ancient India: Essays on Religion, Politics, and Archaeology. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  59. Sircar, Oishik. 2012. Spectacles of Emancipation: Reading Rights Differently in India’s Legal Discourse. Osgoode Hall Law Journal 49: 527–573.Google Scholar
  60. Staff. 2018. India can’t become world’s refugee capital, Centre tells Supreme Court in Rohingya deportation case. Scroll.in, 31 January.Google Scholar
  61. Vivek Reddy, K. 2017. Devaluing High Courts. The Hindu.Google Scholar
  62. Wall, Patrick. 2017. A New Link in the Chain: Could a Framework Convention for Refugee Responsibility Sharing Full the Promise of the 1967 Protocol? International Journal of Refugee Law 29: 201–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wallace, Rebecca M., and Diego Quiroz. 2008. Refugees and Internally Displaced: A Challenge to Nation-Building. Maine Law Review 60: 409.Google Scholar
  64. Wallace, Rebecca & Olga Martin-Ortega. 2013. International Law, 7th ed. London: Sweet & Maxwell.Google Scholar

Conventions/Legislations/ Executive Orders

  1. Government of India. 1920. Passport (Entry into India) Act. Google Scholar
  2. Government of India. 1939. The Registration of Foreigners Act.Google Scholar
  3. Government of India. 1946. The Foreigners Act.Google Scholar
  4. Government of India. 1948. The Foreigners Order.Google Scholar
  5. Government of India. 1949. Abducted Persons Recovery and restoration Act Google Scholar
  6. Government of India. 1950. Passport (Entry into India) Rules. Google Scholar
  7. Government of India. 1950. The Constitution of India. Google Scholar
  8. Government of India. 1950. The Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act.Google Scholar
  9. Government of India. 1967. The Passport Act.Google Scholar
  10. Government of India. 1983. The Emigration Act.Google Scholar
  11. Government of India. 1983. The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act.Google Scholar
  12. Government of India. 2009. The Citizenship Rules.Google Scholar
  13. Government of India. 2014. Law for Refugees in India, Press Bureau of India, Press Release ID 108152, 6 August. New Delhi: Ministry of Home Affairs.Google Scholar
  14. Government of India. 2014. Standard Operating Procedure to all State Governments/ Union Territories.Google Scholar
  15. Government of India. 2016. The citizenship (amendment) Bill, 2016: A Bill further to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, Bill No. 172, New Delhi: Lok Sabha.Google Scholar
  16. United Nations. 1951. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. 189 UNTS 137.Google Scholar
  17. United Nations. 1954. Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. 989 UNTS 175.Google Scholar
  18. United Nations. 1967. Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. 606 UNTS 267.Google Scholar

Cases

  1. All India Kashmiri Samaj v Union of India. 2016 Indlaw SCO 240.Google Scholar
  2. Archbishop Raphael Cheenath v State of Orissa. 2016 Indlaw SC 978.Google Scholar
  3. Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha & Ors v Union of India. 2014 Indlaw SC 867.Google Scholar
  4. Bhawna Garg v University of Delhi. 2012 Indlaw SC 283.Google Scholar
  5. Concurring opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade. 2017. In Jadhav Case (India v. Pakistan), Provisional Measures, 18 May, http://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/168/168-20170518-ORD-01-01-EN.pdf.
  6. Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas v. Arunachal Pradesh. 2015 Indlaw SC 649.Google Scholar
  7. Common Cause v Union of India. 2017 Indlaw SC 568.Google Scholar
  8. Dr Upendra Baxi v State of Uttar Pradesh and Others. 1997 Indlaw SC 1647.Google Scholar
  9. Dongh Lian Kham v Union of India. 2015 Indlaw DEL 5723.Google Scholar
  10. Hans Muller of Nurenburg v Superintendent, Presidency Jail, Calcutta & ors., 1955 Indlaw SC 8.Google Scholar
  11. ICC. 2018. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecution’s Request for a Ruling on Jurisdiction under Article 19(3) of the Statute, The Hague, 9 April.Google Scholar
  12. In Re : Mintu Barua and anr. 2017 Indlaw CAL 1694.Google Scholar
  13. In Re: The Berubari Union and exchange of Enclaves v Reference under Article 143(1) of the Constitution of India. 1969 Indlaw SC 294.Google Scholar
  14. J. L. Koul v State of Jammu and Kashmir. 2009 Indlaw SC 1469.Google Scholar
  15. Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha v Union of India, 2017 Indlaw SC 943.Google Scholar
  16. Kamla Market Transporters Association v NDMC North. 2017 Indlaw DEL 429.Google Scholar
  17. Karma Gyaltsen Neyratsang v Union of India. 2017 Indlaw DEL 2618.Google Scholar
  18. Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala. 1973 Indlaw SC 537.Google Scholar
  19. Khudiram Chakma v State of Arunachal Pradesh. MANU/SC/0336/1994.Google Scholar
  20. Ktaer Abbas Habib al Qutaifi. v. Union of India. 1998 Indlaw GUJ 69.Google Scholar
  21. Lobsang Wangyal v. Union of India. 2016 Indlaw DEL 3681.Google Scholar
  22. Luis De Raedt vs. Union of India. 1991 3SCC 544.Google Scholar
  23. Makke Abubakar Darvesh, v. Sardar Tarlochansingh Pritamsingh Kalsi. 2015 Indlaw MUM 961.Google Scholar
  24. Malavika Karlekar v. Union of India and Another. 1992. Writ Petition (Criminal No) No: 583.Google Scholar
  25. Manora Bewa v Union of India, 2017 Indlaw GUW 171.Google Scholar
  26. Monteiro v State of Goa. 1969 Indlaw SC 583.Google Scholar
  27. Mumtaz Ahmed & ors., v State. 2017 Indlaw JK 872.Google Scholar
  28. Namgyal Dolkar. 2010 Indlaw DEL 2971.Google Scholar
  29. Nandini Sundar v State of Chattisgarh. 2011 Indlaw SCO 445.Google Scholar
  30. Narmada Bachao Andolan. 2011. 2011 Indlaw SC 332.Google Scholar
  31. National Human Rights Commission v State of Arunachal Pradesh and Anr. MANU/SC/1047/1996.Google Scholar
  32. National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India. MANU/SC/0309/2014.Google Scholar
  33. Om Prakash & ors., v Union of India. 2017 Indlaw DEL 3641.Google Scholar
  34. P.K. Koul v. Estate Officer and Anr. MANU/DE/3357/2010.Google Scholar
  35. Phuntsok Wangyal v Ministry of External Affairs. 2016 Indlaw DEL 3681.Google Scholar
  36. R.L. Raina v. Indian Meterological Department. 2014. W.P.(C) 7831/2010 and CM No. 20246/2010.Google Scholar
  37. Ram Jethmalani & Ors v Union Of India.2011 Indlaw SCO 444Google Scholar
  38. Rupajan Begum v Union of India, 2017 Indlaw SC 948.Google Scholar
  39. Sarbananda Sonowal v Union of India and Another. AIR 2005 SC 2920.Google Scholar
  40. Shanmugam v State of Tamil Nadu and ors. 2014 Indlaw MAD 926.Google Scholar
  41. State of Arunachal Pradesh vs. Khudiram Chakma. 1994 Supp. (1) SCC 615.Google Scholar
  42. State of Gujarat v Mahammad Hanif Antadi & ors. 2017 Indlaw GUJ 2191.Google Scholar
  43. State of Tamil Nadu v Nalini & 25 0thers. 1999 Indlaw SC 810.Google Scholar
  44. State Trading Corporation of India Ltd. v. Commercial Tax Officer, Visakhapatnam. MANU/SC/0038/1963.Google Scholar
  45. Tenzin Passang & ors., v. Union of India. 2017 Indlaw DEL 1248.Google Scholar
  46. Tenzing Choden Sherpa v Union of India. 2017 Indlaw MEG 17.Google Scholar

Reports and Resolutions

  1. Ashesh, Ashna & Arun Thiruvengadam. 2017. Report on Citizenship Law: India. Doc. No. RSCAS/GLOBALCIT-CR 2017/12.Google Scholar
  2. Government of India. 1984. 107 th Report on Law of Citizenship. The Law Commission of India. D.O.NO. F 2.(11)/84-IC, http://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/101-169/Report107.pdf.
  3. Government of India. 2016. Rajnath Singh. Statement of objects and reasons, New Delhi: Lok Sabha.Google Scholar
  4. Governor of Assam. 1998. Letter of Lt. Gen S.K. Sinha to the President of India. 8 November.Google Scholar
  5. Government of India. 2014–2015. Standing Committee on External Affairs: First Report. Ministry of External Affairs. New Delhi: Lok Sabha Secretariat.Google Scholar
  6. Government of India. 2014. Minutes of the Second Sitting of the Standing Committee on External Affairs. Ministry of External Affairs.Google Scholar
  7. Government of India. 2015. Prison Statistics India. National Crimes Records Bureau. Ministry of Home Affairs.Google Scholar
  8. Government of India. 2015. Schedule Caste / Scheduled Tribe Atrocity Prevention Act.Google Scholar
  9. Government of Myanmar. 2018. Statement of the Office of the State Counsellor. Press Release, 13 April.Google Scholar
  10. ICJ. 1945. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, 33 UNTS 933.Google Scholar
  11. Médecins Sans Frontières. (2017). Refugees and Internally Displaced People. http://www.msf.org/en/topics/refugees-and-internally-displaced-people.
  12. United Nations. 1949. Refugees and Displaced Persons, UNGA Resolution A/RES/281(III), 215th Plenary Meeting.Google Scholar
  13. UNHCR. 2017a. Mixed Movements in South-East Asia. http://www.refworld.org/docid/590b18a14.html.
  14. UNHCR. 2017b. Universal Periodic Review: 3rd Cycle, 27th Session–India. http://www.refworld.org/docid/591971124.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jindal Global Law SchoolSonipatIndia

Personalised recommendations