Night shelters are for pregnant and lactating women: Delhi HC

Last Updated: Friday, July 4, 2014 - 22:12

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday rapped night shelters` occupants who have made them their permanent home and said the shelters were meant for homeless pregnant and lactating women and not for healthy persons.

"It`s night shelter, we have not built it as a permanent accommodation. How is it possible that everyone who comes in Delhi will be given permanent home? You cannot have monopoly over it. How can you occupy it permanently? This house is for homeless pregnant and lactating women," a bench of Justice Manmohan said.

"There are thousands who are homeless in Delhi. Night shelter are only for needy one. This is not a permanent house. Once your need is over, you should leave and allow the people in need to use it," the bench said.

The court`s observations came on a plea filed by Delhi government seeking its clarification of the earlier order where it asked government to provide facilities to pregnant and lactating women.
The government told the court that homeless people from other states have come here and have been residing in the shelters for many years.

Despite repeated requests, they have not been vacating the shelters and residing there permanently, Delhi government informed the bench while asking it to clarify its order that food and shelter facilities in that shelter home was ordered for pregnant and lactating women only.

Earlier a contempt plea was filed by Priya Kale, who resides in Motia Khan shelter home here, alleging that she had lost her two-month-old baby due to inhuman conditions in the shelter home.
Seeking the court`s intervention for better living and medical facilities at the shelter homes, Kale had moved the court, after which it gave certain directions to provide facilities to pregnant and lactating women.

The government failed to comply with the court`s order and Kale moved a contempt petition against the city government.

Expressing concern over needy and poor women, the court said healthy people staying at shelters should move out of them and work instead of eating and sleeping there.

The bench also clarified its earlier direction and asked the "Delhi government to ensure hygienic living conditions, continue to provide three meals a day and provide a room for health checkups for pregnant and lactating women and not other women".

During the hearing today, the bench was also told that healthy people were not vacating the shelter homes.

"You (healthy people) will have to leave it", the bench said.

"See there is limitation of state (Delhi). I am also not a magician or a god who will create a house for everyone. You cannot occupy it permanently. I will not allow it. Only homeless pregnant and lactating women will stay.

"Healthy people, who are seating and eating, should go out of that shelter and work. This is a temporary arrangement by the government and this house cannot be misused," the court said.

The court further said "it doesn`t mean that once you enter into the house, you will not move out or it is your permanent house. You will have to vacate it."


First Published: Friday, July 4, 2014 - 22:12

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