New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday berated the central government for doing "very little" to secure the international border with Bangladesh and to stop infiltration, which has been going on unabated.
"Very little done" and "things are just merrily going on and the infiltration continues on a large scale", observed the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, as it perused a report by court commissioner advocate Upamanyu Hazarika, which painted a very dismal state of affairs on securing and making the border infiltration-proof.
Noting that the central and Assam governments were dragging their feet over the apex court order with regard to border fencing, construction of border roads, night patrolling, floodlights etc., the court by its May 13 order had appointed Hazarika as its commissioner for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
"We want response (to the commissioner's report) on the ground that can be measured," the court said on Tuesday.
"This is what the Union of India and the State of Assam owe to the people of India," it said.
Asking both the Centre and Assam as to "for how long this ad-hocism will continue", the court said the border with Bangladesh was "perhaps very porous border anywhere".
The court also noted the commissioner's report that said that within a 150-metre stretch between the border and the fenced area, there were a number of villages and people were coming and going on the basis of "strange kind of passes issued by the BSF".
It asked the Centre and Assam to take "all such corrective steps that would be warranted", including intensive patrolling along the riverine border, improvement in border roads, electrification of floodlights, strengthening of patrolling by the BSF and other paramilitary forces that guard the international border and stopping of infiltration.
The court also asked the court commissioner advocate to visit the area after two months to assess the response of the central and Assam governments.
The court was told there were about five lakh references of illegal migrants before the Foreigners Tribunal and 36 tribunals were already working.
Recording the submissions, the court reiterated that 100 Foreigners Tribunals should become operational on or before August 10 as was ordered on May 13.
The apex court was told that for the remaining 64, the Gauhati High Court has finalised the list of advocates who would man them.
The apex court said the Centre should be ready with the report on steps that it would take to augment the strength of the Gauhati High Court, if as expected a large number of decisions of the Foreigners Tribunals were to be challenged before it.