A bench comprising justices R F Nariman and Ranjan Gogoi also asked the Centre to hold discussions with the Bangladesh government for ensuring that illegal migrants be sent back and passed a slew of directions in this regard.

"We are at a loss to understand why 67 years after Independence, the eastern border is left porous," it said, adding, "We have been reliably informed that the entire western border with Pakistan being 3300-kms-long, is not only properly fenced but properly manned as well and is not porous at any point."

The bench, in its 70-page verdict, directed the Centre to take all effective steps to complete the "fencing (double coiled wire fencing) in such parts/portions of the Indo-Bangla border (including Assam) where presently the fencing is yet to be completed to prevent illegal access to the country from Bangladesh."

It, however, referred to a larger bench to decide the issue of constitutuional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act with regard to the cut-off date for awarding citizenship to the migrants.

"Whether Section 6A violates Articles 325 and 326 of the Constitution of India in that it has diluted the political rights of the citizens of the State of Assam," one of the referred questions said.

On the issue of curbing influx of migrants, the bench said, "The vigil along the riverine boundary will be effectively maintained by continuous patrolling.

Such part of the international border which has been perceived to be inhospitable on account of the difficult terrain will be patrolled and monitored at vulnerable points that could provide means of illegal entry."

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