The National Human Rights Commission has given a further time of four weeks to the Delhi Government to submit its report on the exact status of night shelters in the national capital.
Through its notices in the month of January, 2014, the Commission had also directed the Delhi Government to inform about the steps taken to protect poor homeless persons from the cold.
The commission had taken suo motu cognizance of related media reports and registered three cases. It had observed that the pathetic conditions of the homeless persons were a matter of concern as they lived in open even during extremely cold nights.
It was reported in the media that over 1.5 lakh destitute persons were spending life on footpaths and over-bridges in Delhi either due to shortage of Shelter Homes or lack of facilities in the existing ones and deaths of homeless persons in different parts of the Capital.
One of the reports alleged that two homeless persons were found dead at a distance of 30 to 40 feet from each other near a Shelter Home in the Yamuna Pusta area on the January 1. Another report, carried on the January 19, stated that six persons died around Kashmere Gate.
Reportedly, there were only 175 shelter homes in Delhi, which catered around 7 thousand homeless. These Homes too were facing scarcity of infrastructure and sanitation.
According to the plan of the Delhi Development Authority, which was yet to be implemented, there must be a night shelter in every area having one-lakh population. Despite Government's orders, the Shelter Homes in Delhi were lying unattended even after the mercury reached four degree below normal.
The commission had issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and the Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Government of NCT of Delhi calling for reports.