The Supreme Court on Wednesday hauled up the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar for seeking central funds to provide shelter to destitutes and said the state authorities should have done this on its own.
Expressing displeasure at Bihar government's attitude, the apex court said "what could be a greater need than protecting human lives? You need Government of India funds and till then you can't set up shelters?
A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Gyan Sudha Mishra was irked by Bihar's stand in contrast to all the other states which, in response to a PIL by civil rights group PUCL had agreed to provide special shelters to the homeless and destitutes at the rate of at least one shelter for areas having a population of one lakh.
In fact, states like Delhi and Andhra Pradesh earned the apex court's appreciation for providing excellent shelters to the destitutes which the bench said should be role models for other states to emulate.
However, when it came to the turn of Bihar, the state filed an affidavit that due to resource crunch it could not provide any facility and instead sought central funds to take up the scheme.
However, the bench told Bihar counsel Gopal Singh that "the state is not as helpless as you project it."
"It is not that we want you to do a Himalayan task but at least start from a scratch and provide some basic amenities. We are totally unsatisfied with the affidavit filed by the Chief Secretary of Bihar," the bench said.
It asked the state Chief Secretary to file an additional affidavit "with the consent" of the Chief Minister to clarify the position.
"We would like the CM of Bihar to file an affidavit. It is something (shelter) you should have done on your own. Do you know how your state will be painted in the eyes of the world?
"I am sure the CM has not seen the affidavit. Otherwise, this type of affidavit will not be filed. The entire country is on one side and you are on one side. Lot can be said.
"We want to know whether the CM would like the state to file an affidavit in such a manner. You know what is the consequence of filing such an affidavit?" Justice Bhandari told the state.
The bench intitially proceeded to direct the Chief Minister to personally file an affidavit but later asked the Chief Secretary to file an additional affidavit "with the consent of the Chief Minister" so that it could pass appropriate orders at the next meeting.