SC refuses to hear PIL on plight of persons affected by Indo- Bangla pact  

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New Delhi, Aug 4 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea alleging omission of names of around 597 persons, affected by the 2015 pact between India and Bangladesh to exchange territories, from the list of citizens.

A bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said the petition was vague and, moreover, no specific case has been mentioned. “Innocuous prayers will lead to innocuous orders,” the bench said, adding that liberty was granted to any affected individual to seek legal remedy by approaching an appropriate forum.

During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal said the persons, who are claiming that they have been denied concessions of being citizens, did not figure in the list prepared by the authorities at relevant times. The apex court had on September 24, 2015 sought response from the Centre and the West Bengal on the plea filed by NGO, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM).

The NGO’s counsel had alleged that there were some persons who are neither citizens of India nor of Bangladesh and there is ‘gross violation’ of rights to life and basic human dignity of the families residing in the Bangladeshi enclaves located in India and Indian enclaves in Bangladesh.

The petition, filed on behalf of the dwellers in these enclaves on both sides of border, had said that if the issue remained unresolved, it would lead to resentment and discontent. The plea had sought a direction to the Centre to disclose the list of eligible residents of the enclaves on both sides of the border and give an opportunity to those who claim that their names have been illegally and wrongly omitted to make a representation to the authorities.

It had sought a direction to authorities to consider claims of wrongful exclusion of families from the list of eligible enclave dwellers. It had also sought a direction to the authorities to provide the residents of the enclaves with a temporary Identity Card.

According to the plea, there are around 51 enclaves on the Indian side of the border housing 14,215 persons and 111 enclaves on the Bangladesh side of the border housing 37,334 persons. The NDA government had in 2015 operationalised the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), which paved the way for the operationalisation of the 1974 pact under which 161 enclaves under the control of either countries were to be exchanged.

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