The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rapped the Centre for not filing its response to a PIL, which has claimed that shelter homes in the city deny three quality meals a day to its occupants, despite repeated opportunities and warned that cost of Rs 10,000 would be imposed for failure to do so.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan gave one more opportunity to the Ministry of Housing to file its affidavit saying failure to do so would lead to imposition of costs of ₹10,000 on Secretary, Housing Ministry.
The high court also said that the Secretary of Housing Ministry was earlier this year burdened with a cost of ₹ 10,000 for not giving proper details with regard to the number of government accommodations which were being illegally occupied.
The costs were later reversed after the ministry filed an application apologising for what happened and gave all details regarding the number of government residences being illegally occupied, action taken and recoveries made from the illegal occupants.
In the instant PIL the high court had asked the ministry to indicate on affidavit how much funds it has given to the Delhi government for providing three meals everyday to the homeless who are residing in the shelters here.
On Wednesday, the ministry''s counsel sought more time to file an affidavit which irked the bench.
Even the Delhi government counsel said that she did not have instructions regarding receipt of any funds from the Centre for providing meals to the homeless in the shelters.
She, however, told the court that three meals would be provided in the shelters only till July 31.
Earlier, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) which runs the shelters had told the court that it had stopped providing food to the shelter home inmates from July 2 on directions of the Delhi government.
The court was hearing a petition, by a woman residing at a shelter home in Sarai Kale Khan here, which has contended that the central government on March 28 issued a notification directing all the states and union territories to provide three meals a day in the shelter homes.
The plea has further claimed that as per the notification, "three hygienically prepared meals a day should be provided to the people residing in shelter homes for which an amount of ₹ 100 per homeless per day may be incurred".
However, in complete violation of the above mentioned notification, DUSIB was providing only two meals of Rs 20 each for lunch and dinner to the people at the shelter homes, the petition has alleged.
It has also alleged that the "quality of food is poor and below the minimum standard. The meals only consist of plain rice and dal which are of lowest quality available in the market".