Delhi HC orders resumption of food supply to destitute in government-run night shelter

Meanwhile, LG V K Saxena has directed the Delhi chief secretary to look into complaints that payments for food provided by Akshaya Patra Foundation during the Covid period were still not disbursed.
Delhi High court. (File Photo)
Delhi High court. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI:  In light of news about women in a government-run night shelter begging on the streets after their food supply stopped, the Delhi High Court has directed that the practice of providing food to all shelters continue in the national capital.

“It is needless to mention that the agency, ie, Akshaya Patra Foundation which was earlier providing food to all the night shelters will continue to do so and the same process of payment which was continuing earlier, will continue,” the order said.

As per a media report cited by High Court judge Justice C Hari Shankar, nearly 60 homeless single women including elderly and people with disabilities and 17 children living in a shelter house at Nizamuddin run by Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) have started begging on streets after their meals supply was stopped by the agency Akshaya Patra Foundation.

Considering the issue, the High Court registered it as a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL). “It has been brought to the notice of this court that at present the government is providing food to all night shelters. It is directed that the practice of providing food to all night shelters, including the night shelter which is the subject matter of the present PIL, will continue and the same will not be discontinued without the leave of the court,” said an order of a division bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma.

The bench also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad also issued notice to DUSIB and city government seeking their response within four weeks. Senior Adv Dayan Krishnan was appointed as Amicus Curiae in the matter. The matter will be further heard on May 30. Akshaya Patra Foundation had discontinued food supply to the shelter homes on April 26 citing a shortage of funds.

Following the court’s interim order, the foundation resumed the night shelter feeding initiative undertaken in association with the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) in Delhi, the NGO said. Meanwhile, LG V K Saxena has directed the Delhi chief secretary to look into complaints that payments for food provided by Akshaya Patra Foundation during the Covid period were still not disbursed.

“It was brought to the L-G’s notice by the Foundation that the government had yet not paid them for the food provided by them during the most difficult phase of the Covid pandemic,” officials said.

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