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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

How is it that governments don’t feel for homeless, asks Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said the governments have forgotten that the homeless are human beings, and all of them have been reduced to numbers.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2017 23:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A homeless person sits on a road median amid heavy smog in New Delhi.
A homeless person sits on a road median amid heavy smog in New Delhi.(AFP)

Homeless people in this country have been reduced to numbers, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday indicating that it will constitute a committee to oversee the implementation of its orders on the construction of shelters for the urban homeless.

“You have forgotten that they are human beings. All of them have been reduced to numbers. Have some sympathy for them. How is it possible that nobody in the government has any feeling for them,” a bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta said, exasperated that the states and Centre had failed to take corrective measures to provide shelters.

The bench came down heavily on the Centre for not taking an account of funds it releases to the states under the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM).

“You cannot wash away your hands by saying that you have released money. There should be some accounts. You cannot let the money go into the drain,” the bench told the law officer representing the government.

The court also expressed dismay at the contents of affidavits filed by Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal. In Haryana, work on shelters is on since 2014.

“Affidavit filed three years ago mentioned there were 6,107 shelters in the state. And your latest submission gives the same figure,” the bench said, directing personal presence of state chief secretary.

The Centre informed the court that it had not allocated funds to Haryana this year because the latter did not submit a utilisation certificate.

On West Bengal’s submission it had earmarked Rs 178 crore for homeless shelters, the said only 10% of the money was being used to directly benefit the needy. “Rest 80% is spent on training and committees where the members spend their time eating chai and samosa,” the bench said.

“It should be the other way round.” The court was unimpressed with UP government’s affidavit and ordered the counsel to file a fresh one before the next hearing on November 23.

First Published: Nov 08, 2017 23:17 IST