The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rapped Maharashtra government for delay in providing land to build night shelters for the homeless people, saying it has taken an insensitive approach on the issue.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and V L Achiliya was on Tuesday informed that the state government has rejected seven proposals forwarded by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai seeking allotment of land.
Advocate Madhubala Kajle, appearing for the state government, told the court that the civic body's proposal was rejected as the land proposed to be allotted was very small.
Irked by the response, the High Court said, "Then allot a larger land. Nobody is preventing the government from allotting larger land. Despite so many orders passed by the judiciary this is the approach of the government. We are very sorry to see this. The government has taken a completely insensitive approach," the bench said.
The court directed state Advocate General Shreehari Aney to appear in the matter and posted it for further hearing on October 28.
The directions were passed during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by NGO 'Homeless Collective', highlighting the plight of pavement dwellers. The petition has sought directions to the civic and state authorities to identify homeless persons and ensure adequate night shelters for them.
The petitioner maintained that for every one lakh population in a city, there should be one night shelter, as per the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM).
According to that norm, Mumbai should have 207 shelters. However, only nine night shelters are operating at the moment as against 25 that were promised in 2012, the PIL said.