Explaining the drop in temporary shelters, the Delhi government on Monday told the Supreme Court that the number of homeless in the Capital had decreased since last year.
Additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran justified the fall in temporary shelters from last year's 84 to 19 this year after the petitioner's counsel, Colin Gonsalves, confronted him over the government's decision to cut down on their number.
The ASG told a bench of justice Dalveer Bhandari and justice Dipak Misra that not many people were coming to these shelters. The bench, however, was not convinced.
"Not many people are coming to these shelters because there are no facilities. Who would go there if there are no adequate arrangements for the homeless," the court said.Parasaran replied that the Delhi government was willing to provide shelters if there was a need. He said 64 permanent shelters were ready for use and assured the court that 35 more would be ready before December 15.
Gonsalves countered that only 42 were functional and 21 were closed. One, he said, could not be located. Even out of the 42, seven were not under use.
After the claims and counter claims, the bench directed the court commissioners to inspect the shelters and submit a report before the next date of hearing on January 9, 2012.
Parasaran said the Delhi government had also sought the Delhi Police's assistance in tracing the homeless.
Gonsalves drew the court's attention to various Residents' Welfare Associations (RWAs) allegedly threatening civic agencies from setting up night shelters in their areas. He complained how the NDMC had allegedly opposed a shelter for the homeless in its jurisdiction. The bench said it would take up the issue at the next hearing.