HC seeks report on steps takento identify homeless destitutes


Petitioner says concept of temporary shelters for homeless is absent in the State

The Madras High Court on Thursday called for a report from the State government on steps taken to identify hundreds of homeless destitutes, who live on roadsides and street corners, and provide them food and shelter, especially during the ensuing monsoon period.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha also directed the Greater Chennai Corporation to file a similar affidavit by November 5 since public interest litigation petitioner M. Muruganantham told the court that not less than 20,000 people were homeless and destitutes in the city limits alone.

The judges wanted to know the methodology adopted by the government as well as the civic bodies for identifying the homeless people, the availability of temporary shelters to house them during rainy and winter season and the amount of funds that had been allocated for the same.

The interim order was passed on the PIL petition that had been pending in the court since 2018. The litigant had claimed that the concept of temporary shelters for the homeless was completely absent in the State, forcing those people to brave cold and rains.

It was also brought to the notice of the Bench that the Supreme Court had taken up a similar case in 2016 and constituted a committee headed by retired Delhi High Court judge Kailash Gambhir to verify whether the urban homeless had been provided with shelters.

The committee had also been ordered to inquire into the slow progress in establishing such shelters under the National Urban Livelihoods Missions and the possibility of non-utilisation, diversion or misappropriation of funds allotted to the State governments, the petitioner said.

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