The Delhi high court on Friday asked the Delhi government to shift the temporary night shelters for the homeless and the poor closer to places where they work.
A bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw allowed an NGO's plea that the shelters are far from workplaces of many people and so should be shifted.
"The night shelters should be need-based," the bench said while hearing the government's standing counsel Najmi Waziri's argument that a total of 150 shelters, including 64 permanent ones, have been set up as per the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021.
According to MPD, one shelter is required to be set up for five lakh people in the city and the arrangements have to be made, but some of the shelters have not been adequately occupied.
The court also asked the government to pay the Delhi Development Authority the cost of land allotted by it to set up permanent shelters and asked civic bodies to find out if buildings lying vacant could be converted into night shelters temporarily.
NGO Shahri Adhikar Manch Begharon Ke Liye had earlier alleged the authorities have failed to provide even basic amenities for the poor and the shelters are not fit for living in as even the toilets of these night shelters "stink".
In December 2010, the court had taken suo motu cognisance of a media report on the demolition of a night shelter set up by the NGO and civic bodies and doing nothing to protect the homeless from the biting cold.