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19th April Current Affairs

SC turns down release of Rohingya in Jammu

In News:

The Supreme Court has said the Rohingya illegal migrants, detained in Jammu, will not be deported to Myanmar without following law.

Centre assured court that law will be scrupulously followed in deporting Rohingya migrants.

What’s the case?

A plea was filed in the court to “release the detained Rohingya refugees immediately and direct the Union Territory government and the Ministry of Home Affairs to expeditiously grant refugee identification cards for the Rohingyas in the informal camps”.

What has the court said?

Though  Article 14 and Article 21 enshrined in the Constitution are available to both citizens and foreigners, the right “not to be deported” is ancillary to citizenship.

The right not to be deported, is ancillary or concomitant to the right to reside or settle in any part of the territory of India guaranteed under Article 19(1)(e).

Article 19 (1) (e) of the Constitution guarantees to every citizen of India, the right “to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India”.

Laws and regulations regulating refugees in India:

In India, no legislation has been passed that specifically refers to refugees. Hence, the Rohingya refugees are often clubbed with the class of illegal immigrants deported by the government under the Foreigners Act 1946 and the Foreigners Order 1948. Legally, however, a refugee is a special category of immigrant and cannot be clubbed with an illegal immigrant.

Bhutan, China to schedule boundary discussions

In News:

Bhutan and China have agreed to hold boundary talks between them “as soon as possible” and discuss a roadmap for expediting the boundary resolution.


The upcoming talks, the 25th round of the boundary talks mechanism, will be the first since the Doklam standoff in 2017, and the first since China made new claims on Bhutan’s eastern boundary bordering Arunachal Pradesh in June 2020.

Disputed areas:

The talks have thus far focused on two areas of dispute: Pasamlung and Jakarlung valleys to the North of Bhutan and Doklam to the West of Bhutan, along the tri-junction with India. However, at a UN environmental meeting in June 2020, China raised an objection to a grant for Bhutan’s Sakteng Sanctuary to the East frontier as well, saying that it was disputed as well.

Concerns for India:

China’s new territorial claim is a part of the larger Chinese tactics of putting pressure on India’s smaller neighbours, to punish them for any closeness to India.

In 2017 China had intruded into Doklam plateau, which is claimed by Bhutan, leading to a standoff between Indian and Chinese Armies.

Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP)

In News:

The US Navy has publicly declared it conducted “freedom of navigation operations” in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) near Lakshadweep earlier this week, without deliberately seeking New Delhi’s prior consent.

However, India has protested this decision, rejecting the U.S.’s claim that its domestic maritime law was in violation of international law- (the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)).


India’s domestic laws hold any country carrying out military maneuvers in its EEZ must provide prior notification.

While a country has full sovereignty over its territorial waters, which end at 12 nautical miles from the coast, it only has special rights in exploration and use of marine resources in its EEZ, which stretch to 200 nautical miles from the baseline.

What’s the issue?

The US said, India’s requirement of prior consent is inconsistent with international laws and the “freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs)”.

The US — which has not ratified the UNCLOS unlike India, China and many other countries — does regularly conduct FONOPs in the contentious South China Sea to challenge China’s aggressive territorial claims as well as in other areas including the Indian Ocean Region.

What’s the concern now?

The “tone and tenor of the aggressive public declaration” of FONOPs in India’s EEZ, at a time when the US is seeking India’s closer cooperation through the Quad and other mechanisms to foster “credible deterrence” against China in the Indo-Pacific, raised the hackles of the Indian security establishment.

What is FONOP?

Freedom of Navigation Operations involves passages conducted by the US Navy through waters claimed by coastal nations as their exclusive territory.

According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), the FON Program has existed for 40 years, and “continuously reaffirmed the United States’ policy of exercising and asserting its navigation and overflight rights and freedoms around the world”.

These “assertions communicate that the United States does not acquiesce to the excessive maritime claims of other nations, and thus prevents those claims from becoming accepted in international law”.

Ken-Betwa project

In News:

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, asking him not to implement the Ken-Betwa river linking project.


It is because Panna Tiger reserve will be damaged by the river linking project. The state government’s open estimate is that around 40 per cent of the area of the tiger reserve will be irretrievably damaged.


Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat signed a tripartite agreement with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on the occasion of World Water Day to start the work on India’s first major river interlinking project that will connect the Ken and the Betwa Rivers.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed almost 18 years after the idea of the project was conceived owing to disagreement between the two states over sharing of water.

About Ken- Betwa project:

The project aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in MP to Betwa in UP to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region spread across the districts of two states mainly Jhansi, Banda, Lalitpur and Mahoba districts of UP and Tikamgarh, Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP.

Key facts:

  • Ken and Betwa rivers originate in MP and are the tributaries of Yamuna.
  • Ken meets with Yamuna in Banda district of UP and with Betwa in Hamirpur district of UP.
  • Rajghat, Paricha and Matatila dams are over Betwa river.
  • Ken River passes through Panna tiger reserve.