Involve Disaster Management Cells to locate homeless, HC tells govt.

The Karnataka High Court has directed the State government to explore the possibility of involving the recently set up ward-level Disaster Management Cells (DMCs) in locating homeless persons on the streets of the city.

The ward-level DMCs were set up on April 26, 2020 by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike after the court sought the government’s response based on an email sent by social activist Kathyayini Chamaraj on non-constitution of the DMC in every ward as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Ward Committee) Rules, 2016.

The Joint Commissioners of eight zones of the BBMP, in their separate orders passed on April 26 had entrusted various tasks, including the responsibility of maintaining COVID-19 social distancing, keeping surveillance on persons under quarantine, monitoring containment zones, to the DMCs.

A special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the directions while hearing, through video conferencing, the PIL petitions on issues arisen due to COVID-19 lockdown.

While expressing displeasure over the absence of any “organised and systematic efforts” to identify migrants and homeless during COVID-19 lockdown, the Bench directed the Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development Department) to ensure that the BBMP complies with the direction issued by the government to identify shelterless persons.

The State government, the Bench said, must clarify whether people who are staying on the streets can continue to be there in the present condition.

Meanwhile, the government clarified to the court that homeless persons had put up sheets over their place, and that is why in an earlier statement there was a reference to people living in temporary accommodations on streets.

While expressing dissatisfaction over the reports of chief marshall of the BBMP on identification of homeless persons, the Bench pointed out that the reports are vague while also pointing out the failure of the zonal joint commissioners to submit their reports on steps taken to identify homeless persons in their jurisdiction despite a directions issued by the court earlier.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 3:31:17 PM |

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