The AAP government has told the Delhi High Court that two meals a day at shelter homes, in the national capital, was sufficient and it cannot provide “any more than that in its present financial position.”
It also told the high court that the central government scheme to provide three meals a day at shelter homes ended on July 31 and looking at the funds available as well as its other priorities, it was providing two meals a day at the shelters and would continue to do so.
The Delhi government also told a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan that the homeless persons living in the shelter homes can also get work and earn their livelihood, if at all they are able to do so. The submissions were made in response to a PIL claiming that shelter homes in the city deny three quality meals a day to its occupants.
Taking note of the submission made by the Delhi government and that the central government scheme ended on July 31, the court said it does not intend to issue any direction at this stage to the AAP government.
“Nonetheless, having regard to the judgments of the Supreme Court with regard to provision of adequate food to those who can ill afford it, we direct that the Government of NCT of Delhi, with the assistance of experts, should examine whether the provision currently made is sufficient to meet the minimum nutritional requirements of persons in the homeless shelters…,” it said in its order of August 27.
The bench also recommended to the Delhi government to provide three meals a day to the homeless persons living in the shelters when its financial position permits it to do so. It also recommended to the Delhi government to “at least provide three meals per day to the children living in shelter homes, looking at the prevalent pandemic situation”.
With these recommendations the court disposed of the PIL.
The petition, by a woman residing at a shelter home in Sarai Kale Khan here, had 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 had 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 Rs 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 had alleged.
It had 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”.