The Supreme Court on Friday asked the central and Maharashtra governments to respond to a PIL seeking shelter for people, without a roof of their own, living on footpaths and other open public places.
NGO Nav Jivan Sahara Samajik Vichar Manch, in its PIL, urged the court to direct the Maharashtra government restore to the people their shelters that it had taken away on the “false promise” of their replacement by better ones.
Issuing the notice, a bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai asked Yatish Mohan, counsel for the NGO, as to why he had limited his prayer to Maharashtra alone and not included all the states.
Mohan said that he would amend the PIL making all the states party to it.
“The government and local bodies have been neglecting their basic needs and promises are made only at the time of elections (and) after getting their votes, the said people are neglected and forced to live in inhuman conditions which is quite shameful for a civilized society and progressive state like Maharashtra and capital of nation Delhi and other prominent cites of the country,” the PIL said.
Referring to earlier judgments of the apex court, the petitioner NGO said that right to shelter was a fundamental right that springs from right to residence and right to life.
Deploring that these people were neglected by the government and denied of their basic rights, the PIL said that it was espousing the cause of that section of society who are living below poverty line and living on footpaths, below flyovers, bridges, religious places, railway stations, bus stops and various other secluded places which are not fit for human habitation.
The PIL said that the central and the state governments were denying them their basic right of food, shelter, clothing which are the essential requirement for leading a normal life under the Constitution.
Seeking the enforcement of the fundamental rights of these people under Article 21 of the Constitution, and Articles 42 and 47 of the Directive Principles of State Policy, the PIL said that it was mandate of of the state to act in accordance with these provisions.
Instead of fulfilling its constitutional mandate towards these people, they are forcibly alienated of their dwellings to undertake the projects for the higher strata of society and the promise of alternate homes is never kept, the PIL said.