Irked at the death of four more homeless in the Capital due to the cold, the Delhi high court on Thursday directed the city government to come up with a plan on creating permanent facilities for sheltering homeless people.
A division bench of chief justice NV Ramana and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) to provide it with the details of the immediate steps being taken to shelter the homeless from the cold.
Expressing strong displeasure at the government’s inability to prevent their deaths, the bench said it was a “serious issue” and needed urgent attention.
The order came after NGO Shelter’s counsel Reena George informed the court that four more deaths had taken place in the city since January 1, 2014 due to the cold wave.
The high court directed the government and police to file an affidavit about the deaths, which have taken place due to the cold, along with the post-mortem reports.
It asked the joint apex advisory committee of Delhi government to convene a meeting to consider the complaints made by NGOs on police brutality on homeless people in night shelters.
In the status report submitted by the DUSIB, the city government admitted before the HC that 4,018 persons were found sleeping on roads and in the open. The figures were reported by area sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) after carrying out night patrols.
As a temporary measure, the DUSIB has deployed seven unused buses at two different locations at AIIMS, opposite Safdarjung Hospital and Sarai Kale Khan bus terminal as night shelters to the homeless. The seven buses have been functional from January 8.
The DUSIB said it has asked the blueline transport operators association to provide 20 more buses on an urgent basis for temporary use as night shelters in the city.
The HC, which was hearing a suo moto case to provide night shelters with basic facilities to the homeless people in the city, will hear the matter next on January 27.