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Failure Of State To Provide Basic Shelter To Urban Homeless Violates Right To Life Under Article 21 : Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
23 March 2021 3:58 PM GMT
Failure Of State To Provide Basic Shelter To Urban Homeless Violates Right To Life Under Article 21 : Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to place on record the outcomes of the survey of urban homeless carried out in the state. If the Survey is completed, the state will have to take appropriate decisions on the number of shelters required in the state.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said "State must be conscious of the fact that its failure to provide basic shelter to urban homeless may amount to violation of Right to Life guaranteed by Article 21 of Constitution of India. If poor homeless in the cities are without shelter, it is a violation of their Right to live a dignified life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India."

The bench in its order noted that "We are dealing with the issue of providing shelters to urban homeless, the second issue with which we are concerned now is making provision for night shelters. State government has filed a statement of objections. The statement of objections is silent on the survey of urban homeless in the state of Karnataka."

It added "As per the list submitted to the court of the 64 shelters set up in the state, only 47 are functional. The capacity of functional centers in the city (Bengaluru) is not more than 300."

The bench then went through the order passed by the Supreme Court in the case of PUCL v. Union of India (Writ Petition No 196/2001), in which the State of Karnataka has submitted, as recorded in order dated May 5, 2010, that a comprehensive survey to identify urban homeless will be completed in six months and after survey is completed necessary action will be taken to provide basic facilities so that urban homeless are in position to enjoy their fundamental right to lead a life with dignity.

The bench said "As stated earlier, the outcome of the survey is not placed on record."

It also recorded that the Apex court on May 9, 2011, issued specific directions to all states who have not set up night shelters to set up night shelters without further loss of time.

The bench said "As stated earlier no material is placed on record to show how many night shelters set up in the state and if the same are set up, the details of the facilities there. We direct the state government to place on record all data regarding setting up of night shelters."

The court also directed the state government to respond to the survey report carried out by the petitioner PUCL. The report submitted contained a social audit of certain shelters in the city.

Further, it directed the petitioner to submit the report of any further survey of shelters for the homeless, carried out by it to government advocate to enable him to bring it to notice of concerned authorities.

The directions were given during the hearing The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by PEOPLES UNION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES KARNATAKA, which seeks implementation of State Government order dated 29.05.2014, in regards to Urban Homeless Shelters.

The matter will be next heard on May 26.

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