The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked for an action taken report from the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Union Ministry of Home in a case related to rehabilitation of homeless people and street children in the country.
The Commission issued this direction on October 31 after hearing a petition filed by human rights activist and lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy.
Secretaries of the two Ministries have been asked to submit requisite reports within 6 weeks, failing which the Commission would be constrained to issue a coercive process under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
The petitioner has urged the Commission for integrated and comprehensive provisions for homeless people and street children in India, rehabilitation of such persons with basic dignity, availability of night-shelters throughout the country, accessibilities to health services and basic hygiene.
Tripathy said these homeless people are suffering silently due to negligence, inaction and failure on the part of the Government authorities across States/Union territories (UTs) in India. Lives of such people solely depend upon kindness extended by others, he added.
“As per 2011 census, there are around 1.77 million homeless people in India consisting of single men, women, elderly and disabled of which around 9.38 lakh live in urban areas”, read the order quoting petitioner’s plea.
The Commission has heard the petition several times after registration of the case on January 12. It had directed the Ministries of Home, Health & Family Welfare and Housing and Urban Affairs to submit their reports. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, a report was submitted by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (Child Health Section) on September 15.
The report stated that the Ministry has been supporting all States/UTs in implementation of reproductive, maternal, new born, child, adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH+N) strategy under the National Health Mission (NHM) based on the annual programme implementation plan (APIP) submitted by States/UTs to improvise child health survival.
“Requisite reports have not been submitted by the Secretary of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs despite direction of the Commission. In the interest of justice, one opportunity is granted and the Secretaries of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs is directed to submit requisite action taken report in the instant case”, read the order of the NHRC.