Asylum seekers not to be treated as illegal migrants

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While directing the Centre to consider the applications of Sri Lankan Tamils for grant of Citizenship, regardless of their status as ‘illegal migrants’ as per strict application of Citizenship Act, Justice G R Swaminathan of the Madurai bench observed :

“The Government of India must take note of the fact that the petitioners came to India when faced with a grave threat to their lives and limbs. They had to seek asylum in India. A person who is running for his life cannot obviously be expected to wait for a visa. Therefore, viewing the petitioners’ case through the prism of the technical requirements of law, does not appear to be a humanitarian approach. An illegal migrant cannot claim such a relaxation if he had merged with society surreptitiously. That is not the case here. The writ petitioners have been housed in camps set up by the Government”.