The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to upload on its website the report of a court- appointed panel on issues related to providing night shelters to the poverty-stricken people in urban areas in the country. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to ensure that the report of the Justice Kailash Gambhir commission be uploaded on the official website of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation for perusal and necessary action by the Centre and the states.
At the outset, the Solicitor General suggested that as the states were party to the litigation, the report of the panel can be shared on the Supreme Court website. The court, on November 11 last year, had set up the panel headed by former Delhi HC judge Justice Kailash Gambhir to verify availability of night shelters, whether they were in compliance with the operational guidelines under National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) scheme and to probe the reasons for slow progress in setting up of shelter homes by the states and union territories (UTs).
It had asked the commission to also inquire about “non- utilisation and/or diversion/mis-utilisation of funds allocated for the NULM scheme” to provide shelters to urban homeless. “The Committee shall issue suitable recommendations to the states to ensure that at least temporary shelters are provided for the homeless in urban areas to protect them during winter season. The state governments shall ensure compliance with the recommendations along the time frame indicated by the Committee,” it had said.
While appointing the panel, the apex court had slammed the Centre and state governments for their lackadaisical approach in providing night shelters to urban homeless people. It had said that the Centre had formulated a scheme and released huge amounts of money to state governments and the reasons for non-utilisation of funds were not forthcoming.
The court is hearing a PIL filed by advocate E R Kumar on the plight of urban homeless. The National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) was launched in September 2013 to reduce poverty and vulnerability of urban poor households.