Asylum Bill May Be Taken Up In Parliament’s Winter Session

Asylum Bill May Be Taken Up In Parliament’s Winter Session

New Delhi: A bill providing for asylum in the country may be taken up for consideration in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament.

The consideration of this bill assumes significance in the backdrop Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti’s recent application seeking political asylum in India.

The Asylum Bill, 2015 a private members’ bill, introduced by Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor, can be taken up for consideration in the Winter Session of Parliament which starts from November 16, sources said.

It aims for an effective system to protect refugees and asylum seekers by means of an appropriate legal framework. Despite having a huge refugee population, India does not have an uniform law that addresses the issue of asylum.

The bill also suggests for establishing a commission which will take calls on applications of asylum seekers. The proposed panel will consist of a Chief Commissioner, and not less than six other commissioners to be appointed by the Centre.

As per the United Nation’s refugee body UNHCR, in India there were 2,01,281 refugees and 6,480 asylum seekers at the end of 2015. India, which has one of the largest refugee populations in South Asia, has offered shelter to Tibetans, the Chakmas of Bangladesh, Afghans and ethnic Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka.

The country has an informal refugee regime broadly in line with international instruments. But it has no formal asylum policy. The government decides on granting asylum on case-to-case basis.