KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to ensure that poor people are not sleeping on the roadside, footpaths and medians by providing them night shelters.
The court issued the order while disposing of a public interest litigation filed by late Basil Attipetty seeking a directive to the state government to construct night shelters to protect the interests of workers who spent the nights on the streets, footpaths and other pavements. According to the petitioner, the inaction on the part of the state government and local bodies to construct the night shelters was an absolute violation of the rights conferred on citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The bench also directed district collectors to periodically convene meetings of the Local Self Government Departments and other NGOs conducting night shelters and identify the issues and ensure that the homeless sleeping on streets and other public places were provided with sufficient night shelters with basic amenities for their day-to-day requirements.
The state government submitted that night shelters had been established in nine districts and in addition to these institutions, there were 574 orphanages run by non-governmental organizations for different categories of inmates with financial support from the state government. Besides, shelter homes existed under different names under the Kerala Social Security Mission for addressing specific issues for those who were in need of special attention.
As per section 16 of the Kerala Inter-State Migrant workmen (Regulations of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1979 and Rules 1983 of the Act, it shall be the duty of every contractor/employer of the inter-state migrant workmen to provide and maintain suitable residential accommodation to such workmen during the period of their employment, pointed out the state government.