New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked
the city government to submit a detailed report on various
infrastructural shortcomings in city night shelters and the
problems faced by the homeless availing the facility.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri asked
the government to prepare the report in consultation with
various NGOs, given the task of running these shelters with
The bench, which also included Justice Rajiv Sahai
Endlaw, also directed NGOs like Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan and
others to apprise the government of various problems like
water scarcity and lack of sanitation plaguing the night
shelters and asked them to suggest measures to government to
make them homely by ridding them of their shortcomings.
The court`s direction came on submission by some NGOs
that lack of proper facilities, including the water supply and
sanitation at the night shelters, turns homeless away.
As some of the NGOs told the court that they had
surrendered some of the night shelters due to poor
infrastructure and non-payment of fund, the court reminded
them it was their duty to bring the homeless to the night
In its submission to the court, the city government said
it has 11 functional night shelters in the city while 32
newly-built shelters are on the verge of being made
operational and 18 others would be made operational within a
week or so.
It said all night shelters are semi-permanent structure
with vinyl flooring and having facilities of water and
The government also told the court that it is paying
around Rs 32,000 monthly per night shelter for their upkeep
besides Rs three lakh for constructing them.
The government earlier had informed the high court that
it was not feasible to restore some night shelters located
near railway tracks and under flyovers due to security
The report was filed in response to the high court suo
motu taking cognisance of news reports last year about
demolition of a night shelter on Pusa Road amid biting cold
and seeking government`s response to the event.
The government had said that mobilisation of people was
"very low" and they are not going to the night shelter.
The court had declined to accept the government`s plea
and said "the poor and the needy" were not turning up at the
night shelters due to lack of proper infrastructure.
The NGO had alleged the city government and the Delhi
Urban Shelter Improvement Board demolished night shelters
without any prior information. It also alleged that the
government has stopped funding them.
On December 14, the bench had directed inspection of all
64 night shelters in the capital and had sought report on
their condition and occupancy.