Ensure night shelter for Delhi`s homeless: Court to MCD

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 18:13

New Delhi: Slamming the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for being insensitive, the Delhi High Court Wednesday asked it to provide shelter to homeless people whose night refuge was demolished by the civic agency despite the chilling winter.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said, "We do not expect any modern civilised society to allow its people to die, whether it is Commonwealth Games or any other thing. This trend cannot be allowed."

It was referring to a temporary night shelter that was removed by the MCD Dec 22 as part of its beautification drive for the Commonwealth Games later this year.

Not satisfied with the MCD counsel`s submission that they have 27 night shelters, apart from the 16 run by the Delhi government, the bench said, "The present accommodation is insufficient."

It directed the MCD to make proper arrangements so that "at least 150 people can be accommodated at one night shelter".

It took note of the fact that another man had died after the night shelter on west Delhi`s Pusa Road, where he stayed, was demolished by the MCD Dec 22.

The court said, "It is the prime responsibility of the state to provide the homeless a shelter and we are reminding them of the same and it should be ensured that this will be followed in letter and spirit."

The court directed the MCD to make sure that no eviction would take place until an alternative arrangement for the homeless was provided and file a detailed compliance report by Jan 19.

The court was hearing a suo motu case based on a newspaper report highlighting the plight of people rendered homeless after the MCD demolished the structure.

The MCD had submitted that strict action was taken as people had encroached upon land and did not vacate despite several warnings.

As the temperatures in the city dipped and biting cold set in, the move impacted the many homeless who used to take refuge in the shelter.

Delhi has 40 night shelters - 27 run by the MCD and 15 temporary structures run by the Delhi government - for roughly 100,000 homeless people.

IANS



First Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 18:13

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