SC Stresses On Implementation Of Scheme For Urban Homeless
Emphasizing that the government had an obligation to help the poor and provide them shelter, the Supreme Court has directed Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal governments to prepare and present a roadmap for implementation of such a scheme
What we want is a specific plan..a vision document..there is nothing of this sort in what you have filed, a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said after going through the affidavits filed by the three states regarding implementation of National Urban Livelihood Mission..
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Haryana then told the bench : “we have taken several steps for the implementation of NULM and would soon place a roadmap in about two weeks”.
The bench also questioned the Uttar Pradesh government as to why occupancy in shelter homes for urban homeless in the state was only around 25 per cent and called it “startling”.
“As a state government, it is your obligation to look after people of your state. You cannot say that NGOs should do it. It is your duty. if you have constructed shelter homes and they are vacant, then it is counterproductive”, the bench told the counsel appearing for Uttar Pradesh.
Senior lawyer Colin Gonsalves and advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, referred to the report of the apex court-appointed committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir and said the number of shelter homes in these states were much less than what was required.
Bhushan said that in Uttar Pradesh, there were around 1.8 lakh urban homeless while the arrangements of shelter homes in the state was only for around 4,000 people.
Regarding occupancy of around only 25 per cent in such shelter homes in Uttar Pradesh, Gonsalves said the state should advertise about their shelter homes so that the people are made aware.
During the proceedings, Haryana Chief Secretary who was earlier asked by the apex court to appear before it today, was present in the court and he assured the bench that the state was committed to effectively implement the scheme.
Mehta told the bench that 93 shelter homes were existing in Haryana as on date having facilities of night stay and food for the urban homeless.
The bench questioned Mehta on how Haryana government was spending Rs 400 lakh for refurbishing the shelter homes, including those run by the NGOs.
Haryana is capable of doing it but you are not doing it. It is an unfortunate part, the bench said, adding though the state was on the stage of collection of data, it should come out with a plan on how to effectively implement the scheme. It also said the authorities could take the help of NGOs and civil societies in this. At the fag end of the hearing, the Centre told the bench that they have started special audit of funds under the scheme with respect to these three states.