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Food, Shelter for Homeless
SC notice to states, UTs
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 27
The Supreme Court today issued notice to all states and UTs, seeking their response to suggestions for setting up of night shelters for the urban homeless and community kitchens for poor people.

The proposals, made by commissioners Dr NC Saxena and Harsh Mander appointed by the apex court for facilitating the disposal of a PIL, also include treating every unclaimed body, not resulting from any accident, as a possible starvation death, entailing mandatory inquest and post- mortem to ascertain the reasons for the death.

A Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and KS Radhakrishnan said the notice should be served on respective Chief Secretaries/Administrators within two days through the Resident Commissioners in Delhi and the states/UTs would have to file their response within two weeks.

Citing a report submitted to the apex court earlier, the commissioners said an estimated 80-200 million people “sleep hungry every night” and studies had confirmed that a large number of vulnerable population, including boys and girls, “are uncovered or inadequately covered by any government food schemes.”

Besides pointing out the plight of over one lakh homeless people in the Capital, they said Lucknow had only eight temporary shelters and one permanent shelter for 20,000 homeless people, where there were no such facility in Mumbai and Patna. About 450 deaths had occurred in Uttar Pradesh, 40 in Bihar and 30 in Jharkhand this winter in the absence of proper shelter, clothing and food for the poor.

According to the suggestions, the night shelters must have basic facilities such as bed, water, toilet, health check-up and recreation to enable the users to “enjoy their fundamental right to life with dignity.”

Wholesome and hygienic meals should be provided through community kitchens for Rs 10 each to all working men and for Rs 5 to all women and free of cost to all children, aged, infirm and the destitute.



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