Court puts off decision on temporary night shelters

July 20th, 2011 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday reserved its order on the Delhi government’s plea for permission to shut down temporary night shelters for which there are few takers now.

Accepting the report submitted by a three-member committee set up by it, the division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said: “We have to be concerned about the people on the street and at the same time we are concerned about the public exchequer.”

The bench said it would decide on the matter after going through the report.

The Delhi government wants to shut down the shelters as it claims these were meant to serve the homeless during the winter.

The committee, comprising lawyers Jyoti Singh, Shobhna Takkiar and Jayshree Satpute, visited more than 30 temporary and permanent night shelters before preparing the report about the conditions there.

“The temporary shelters were not maintained properly by NGOs due to which there was low occupancy,” said the report.

The committee said the homeless were not aware of the permanent shelters.

The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board needed to give wide publicity about the facilities available at the shelters so that the needy start using them, it said.

The court earlier asked the committee to ascertain the reasons for the low occupancy in these temporary shelters.

The judges were hearing a petition filed by the Delhi government seeking to close the temporary night shelters.

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