Chennai

Provide food, shelter to the homeless during ‘Janata Curfew’: HC

The Madras High Court on Friday directed the State government to accommodate all street dwellers in ‘night shelters’ run by local bodies and also provide them free food during the ‘Janata Curfew’ called for by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday when most of the eateries are likely to be closed through the day.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and R. Hemalatha issued the direction at the request of advocate A.P. Suryaprakasam who pointed out that the poor living on pavements and roadsides would be the most affected during the self-imposed restriction on public movement, except for emergencies, across the country from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

During the course of a habeas corpus petition argued by him, the lawyer apprised the court of the difficulties that could be faced by the homeless poor during the curfew. He said, the government should take steps to house the homeless poor in schools, community halls and marriage halls as it was done during calamities such as floods.

Agreeing with him, the Bench in its order said: “As rightly pointed out by Mr. Suryaprakasam, in these days of crisis, the interest of daily wage labourers and poor workers should be taken care of by this court especially during ‘Janata Curfew’ as this court is a constitutional court. Therefore, it has to incidentally consider the plea made by him.

“Though it is submitted by Raja Srinivas, standing counsel for Greater Chennai Corporation, that 51 night shelters were available in the city, the government and the corporation are directed to inform through media about the availability of such shelters to those who dwell on roadsides. It is also the duty of the government to provide food to them during ‘Janata Curfew’.

“If necessary, the government and the corporation shall utilise the community halls, marriage halls and schools for this purpose on March 22, 2020,” the court ordered.

51 shelters

Homeless people in the city may stay in the 51 shelters maintained by Greater Chennai Corporation on Sunday. This would be in support of the people’s curfew urged by Prime Minister. Sharing a list of 51 shelters of the Corporation on twitter, Municipal Administration Minister S.P.Velumani said the homeless people may approach these shelters in various wards for stay. They would also be given food. He advised city residents to cooperate and remain indoors on Sunday.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 6:04:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/provide-food-shelter-to-the-homeless-during-janata-curfew-hc/article31123520.ece

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