“Homeless do not exist for Government of India,” asked the SC.
New Delhi: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ( SC ) questioned the government’s way of issuing Aadhaar card, a unique identifier which will benefit the poor to access welfare services.
According to the 2011 census, it has been found that there are around 1.8 million homeless people in the country. They constitute 0.15%( approximately ) of the total population.
The judges of the SC asked the government that, how will the lakhs of homeless people in the country get an Aadhaar card without having a permanent address.
The context arose during the hearing on the lack of night shelters for homeless people. The court had previously asked the Uttar Pradesh Chief secretary to explain the lack of night shelters, in the grip of cold wave.
The Social Justice Panel asked, that if a permanent address is mandatory for the Aadhaar enrollment and if Aadhaar is mandatory for availing any government’s schemes, then how would the homeless people can enroll themselves to avail any government’s schemes.
“How do homeless people get Aadhaar if they have no home or a permanent address. Does this mean that they [the homeless] do not exist for the Government of India,” Justice Madan B. Lokur, head of the Social Justice Panel asked.
However, the Uttar Pradesh government gave a affirmative reply to the judges. Additional Solicitor-General ( ASG ) Tushar Mehta, for the U.P. government, said it would be wrong to say the homeless population do not “exist” for the Union. As he believe that the urban homeless were mostly migrants from the rural parts of the country. Hence they( migrants ) would have a permanent address in their native villages and would have or could apply for Aadhaar there. He also added that ASG would get further instructions from the UIDAI on this aspect.
The court further criticizes the Uttar Pradesh government for it’s failure in implementing the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) scheme which had existed since 2014.
“We are talking about human beings who have no place to stay. Those who have no place to stay have to be given a place to live,” Justice Lokur asked Mr Mehta.
Mr. Mehta replied that the State are doing their best to provide shelter to the urban homeless. He said that as per 2011 census, there were around 1.80 lakh urban homeless in the State and the government from then are providing shelters to these homeless. Hence by now the number of homeless has been decreased by certain number.