Legal Correspondent

Bench hails A.P., Delhi for providing shelter to poor

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday lauded the Andhra Pradesh and Delhi governments for the sensitively dealing with the issue of providing night shelters to the urban homeless poor.

A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Gyan Sudha Misra at the same time criticised the Bihar government for seeking 100 per cent Central government funds for the purpose.

The Bench is hearing a petition seeking directions for providing shelters to the homeless in all States.

Justice Bhandari told Bihar counsel: “We don't expect you to do this overnight. Do it in a phased manner. To say we don't have funds and we can't do it is not the answer. What could be a greater need than protecting human lives? You need Government of India funds and till then you can't set up shelters? How can the Chief Secretary say like this in an affidavit? Do you know how your State will be painted in the eyes of the world?”

The Bench said: “I am sure the Chief Minister has not seen the affidavit. Otherwise, this type of affidavit will not be filed. The entire country is on one side and you are on the other. You file a better affidavit after it is vetted by the Chief Minister.”

The Bench, in its brief order, lauded the steps taken by Andhra Pradesh and Delhi for formulating a comprehensive scheme for providing shelter to the homeless. The Bench said the sensitivity shown by them required to be emulated by other States. Copies of these affidavits should be sent to all the Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries for adoption, the Bench said and posted further hearing on July 21.