“Extremely Unfortunate”: SC Raps Jharkhand Govt For Lack Of Winter Action Plan For Urban Homeless [Read Order]
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, asserted that it was “extremely unfortunate” that the Jharkhand government has not yet prepared an action plan for its urban homeless.
Directing the State to have a plan in place soon, a bench comprising Justice MB Lokur, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Hemant Gupta ordered, “It appears that the State of Jharkhand has no plan for the Winter. This is extremely unfortunate. We expect the State of Jharkhand to prepare a plan within next couple of days so that urban homeless are spared the vagaries of Winter Season.”
During the hearing, the petitioner pointed out that an action plan for urban homeless for winter season has been finalized by all States and Union Territories except the States of Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand.
The counsel for the State of Jammu and Kashmir then submitted that as per his knowledge, there are about 250 urban homeless people in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, and that provisions have already been made for providing them with blankets, etc. He submitted that they are kept in shelter homes and that a plan will be handed over to the petitioner in person within the next 2-3 days.
As regards the State of Jharkhand, its counsel submitted that he received instructions only the morning of the hearing. This irked the court, which then directed the State to have a plan in place within the next couple of days.
Additionally, the States and Union Territories which have formulated a plan for the urban homeless for the winters were directed to implement the plan with “all due seriousness and earnestness so that shelter is provided to the homeless”.
Further, it was submitted by Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, that user fee is voluntary and is not insisted upon from the urban homeless for utilization of the facilities in the shelter homes. He also submitted that no identification papers are contemplated under any of the action plans.
In view of such submissions, the court opined that no further directions were required to be passed.
The petition will next be heard in the second week of February, 2019