Detention Centres For Foreigners:
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently informed the Rajya Sabha that it does not maintain a centralised data on the total number of detention centres in the country, as powers have been delegated to the State governments “to make necessary arrangements for detention centres/camps as per their requirement.”
- Detention centres are places designated to keep illegal migrants (people who have entered a country without necessary documents) once they are detected by the authorities till the time their nationality is confirmed and they are deported to the country of their origin.
- Detention centres were set up in Assam after the Union government authorized the state to do so under the provisions of the Foreigners’ Act, 1946 and the Foreigners Order, 1948.
- It replaced the Foreigners Act, 1940 conferring wide powers to deal with all foreigners.
- The act empowered the government to take such steps as are necessary to prevent illegal migrants including the use of force.
- The concept of ‘burden of proof’ lies with the person, and not with the authorities.
- The act originally empowered the government to establish tribunals which would have powers similar to those of a civil court.
- Amendments (2019) to the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 empowered even district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.
- Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies established as per the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.
- Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (or) Retired IAS of ACS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.
- Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.