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Need of Refugee and Asylum Law in India

Need of Refugee


A proposal has been presented by a member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, suggesting the creation of a law in India specifically for refugees and asylum seekers.

Need for a Refugee and Asylum Act:

Recent acts of refoulement

The Indian government has forcibly sent two groups of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, even though they were in great danger of facing persecution in their home country. There were also attempts to expel Chakma refugees in Arunachal Pradesh and people from Myanmar in Mizoram. Presently, there are many Afghan students stuck in India because of the Taliban’s control, and they haven’t had their visas extended, putting them at risk of encountering similar difficulties.

No domestic refugee framework

India has a history of offering support to persecuted communities, but it hasn’t officially agreed to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, and it also lacks its own system for granting asylum.

Absence of Uniform law

India faces a significant challenge when it comes to managing refugees because it doesn’t have a clear and comprehensive law dedicated to their specific needs. The existing laws like the Foreigners Act, 1946, Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, Passports Act (1967), Extradition Act, 1962, Citizenship Act, 1955, and Foreigners Order, 1948 classify all foreign individuals as “aliens,” including refugees. This means that the issues refugees encounter are addressed on a case-by-case basis, and like any other foreigners, they live with the constant fear of deportation.

Problem of Human trafficking

Refugees in India need protection and support to ensure they can access essential services, find jobs, and create a sustainable life. Without proper laws in place, they are at risk of being taken advantage of, especially through human trafficking.

Significance of the bill

  1. This law would serve as a safeguard against unjust actions by authorities.
  2. Everyone from any part of the world, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, or ethnicity, would have the right to seek asylum in India.
  3. A dedicated National Commission for Asylum will be established to address all refugee-related issues.
  4. The vital principle of non-refoulement, which prevents sending refugees back to dangerous situations, will be strictly upheld without exceptions (although there are provisions for exclusion, expulsion, and revocation of refugee status).
  5. If passed, this legislation would position India as a global leader in managing asylum seekers and refugees.
  6. It would reaffirm India’s enduring commitment to humanitarian and democratic values when dealing with refugees.

Court’s View

  1. In 1996, the Supreme Court of India ruled that everyone in India, regardless of their nationality, deserves protection because the rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 20, and 21 of the Constitution apply to all, not just Indian citizens.
  2. In a case in 1995 (NHRC vs. State of Arunachal Pradesh), the Supreme Court intervened to prevent the forced removal of Chakma refugees who had entered Arunachal Pradesh.
  3. The Court emphasized that asylum applications should be properly reviewed, and a decision on granting asylum should be made before any forced eviction of asylum seekers takes place.


In an ever-changing world, India plays a vital role, and it’s essential to follow the Supreme Court’s lead by creating a refugee law. This law would reflect our long-standing values and commitment to democracy.

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