Homeless deaths: HC tells govt to get act together

Asks govt to hold meetings with NGOs, take their opinion on the issue

New Delhi | Published: January 28, 2014 4:23:21 am

Expressing dissatisfaction over the Delhi government handling of the homeless issue, the Delhi High Court on Monday directed the government to hold a meeting on the issue within four weeks and ask concerned NGOs for their opinion.

The court of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice R S Endlaw also directed police to submit post-mortem reports of the persons who had reportedly died due to the cold.
“There is nothing wrong in taking opinions. Why don’t you invite those who are regularly attending the hearing. Involve these two NGOs and conduct a proper meeting and then come here. We are not happy with this,” the court said.

The orders came after the NGOs Shahari Adhikar Manch and MPKI — which have been appearing in court for the hearing on a PIL regarding the issue of night shelters and facilities for the homeless — told the court that they had not been invited to the January 15 meeting convened by the AAP government to tackle the issue.

On January 9, the High Court, which has been monitoring the issue since 2010, had directed the government to inform it of the long-term and short-term policies to tackle the issue of deaths of the homeless due to the cold.

The government informed the court that it was in consultation with police to improve conditions at the night shelters.

However, advocate Reena George, representing the NGOs, told the court that the government had denied that there were complaints about police brutality towards homeless people, even when the homeless themselves filed such complaints.

Pulling up the government, the court said, “We are not happy with this. Can’t you organise a proper meeting and discuss the issue?”

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