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SC sets up panel on night shelters

Winter approaches and enough has not been done for protection of the homeless: Bench

The Supreme Court has asked the government to respond on the lackadaisical attitude shown by authorities in providing sufficient number of night shelters to the poor and homeless in the towns and cities of northern States despite the availability of funds.

“Yet another winter approaches and enough has not been done for protection of many homeless in our towns/cities,” a Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur observed.

No funds crunch

“In spite of the availability of funds and a clear mechanism through which to disburse them, there was an extremely unsatisfactory state of affairs on the ground. A careful consideration of the submissions of parties and the material on record discloses that the destitute in urban areas continue to suffer without shelters,” the apex court observed.

Noting the disparity between the claims of the government and the adverse reports of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), the Bench observed that the city’s poor shiver in the winter cold as welfare measures like the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) scheme continue to remain a distant dream.

The court directed that a committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir be constituted to verify the availability of night shelters, including if they are in compliance with the operational guidelines under the NULM and to inquire into the reasons for slow progress in setting up shelter homes by the States/Union Territories.

“The committee shall further inquire about non-utilisation and/or diversion/misutilisation of funds allocated for the scheme for providing shelters to the urban homeless ... The committee shall issue suitable recommendations to the States to ensure that at least temporary shelters are provided for the homeless in urban areas to protect them during winter season,” the court directed in a recent order.

“The State governments shall ensure compliance with the recommendations along the time frame indicated by the committee,” the Bench directed.

The committee has been given four months to submit its report.



Yet another winter approaches and enough has not been done for protection of the homeless: Bench



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