The Supreme Court on Friday imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh each on nine States and Union Territories (UTs) and Rs 5 lakh on Haryana for not notifying the names of civil society members in their committees to take care of the needs of the urban homeless.
A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta slammed the states and UTs saying housing was a basic need for everyone.
“Housing is a basic need for everybody. When there is a policy of the Union of India, it has to be implemented by all,” said the bench, adding that people without shelter cannot be “left to fend for themselves”.
The bench imposed a cost of Rs one lakh each on nine states and UTs of Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Goa, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Odisha and Tripura, while slapping Rs 5 lakh cost on Haryana.
Initially, the bench imposed Rs 1 lakh cost on Haryana, but the counsel appearing for the state insisted that the name of civil society member has been notified, however, when the bench perused the document, the name was not there and it enhanced the amount of fine to Rs 5 lakh.
It, however, did not impose cost on Uttarakhand considering the “peculiar circumstances” in the state due to the flood.
Asking them to deposit the cost within three weeks to the Supreme Court Legal Services Authority, the bench said: “We make it clear that unless necessary steps are taken by the states and Union Territories, we have no option but to impose heavy cost particularly since winters are coming and persons without shelter cannot be left to fend for themselves.”
The court directed these states and UTs to issue notification in this regard within two weeks.
It also asked all the states and UTs to formulate a plan of action, if not already done, on or before October 31, 2018, which will also include identification of homeless persons, providing them with some identity cards, and the nature of shelter required.
On March 22, the court had directed the states and UTs to notify the names of civil society members, but on Friday it was told that 11 states did not notify the names.
It had earlier took into note that several states have not yet constituted the committee to deal with the issues of implementation of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM).