New Delhi: How are shelter homes being constructed in green belts? the Delhi High Court on Saturday asked the AAP government.
The court raised the query in relation to a shelter home that was located inside the Amir Khusro Park in south Delhi and was demolished two days ago pursuant to its order.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Pratibha M Singh also asked the Delhi government about the steps it was taking to ensure there were adequate shelters for homeless people in the city.
"The Government of NCT of Delhi shall inform this court also as to why steps are not being taken to ensure that adequate shelters are provided to all the homeless in Delhi and how green belts can be converted into shelter homes in violation of the law," it said.
The queries were raised by the bench after coming across a newspaper report which said that around 100 people were rendered shelterless after the night shelter at Amir Khusro Park, bordered by Lala Lajpat Rai Marg and Lodhi Road, was demolished pursuant to a court order.
It also noted the contention of the lawyers for the various authorities that the news article contained a picture, showing a man and an infant child sleeping in the open, which does not relate to inmates of the demolished night shelter as it was being used for women and children.
The lawyers had contended the picture was a deliberate act to mislead the public and create a wrong impression "against the court and the statutory authorities".
In order to confirm that adequate shelter has been made available to the occupants of the demolished night shelter at Amir Khusro Park, the high court appointed one of its Registrars, Lorren Bamniyal, as amicus curiae to inspect the area today and submit a report before May 22, the next date of hearing.
"Let photographs of the shelter home where the occupants have been accommodated and facilities made available be taken by the Local Commissioner and placed before us. The respondents (authorities) shall make available the photographer and bear its expenses," the bench said.
A day after the shelter was demolished, an NGO had moved the court against its removal and sought rehabilitation of the people who were rendered homeless.
The NGO had said the shelter housed 50-60 children and around 60 women, who were left homeless after the demolition carried out by the authorities.
The court had yesterday refused to stay the demolition of the shelter or order its rebuilding without hearing the authorities.
It had, however, directed the authorities to ensure that all the homeless were accommodated in another shelter home situated in the vicinity.