The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi government on a petition seeking rehabilitation of beggars and homeless to avoid the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in all states and Union Territories across the country.
A Division Bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah said, “There is an urgent need to ensure that these people also deserve as other people of the society to be provided with vaccination.”
The petition was filed by Advocate Kush Kalra through Advocate Mohit Paul and Advocate Sunaina Phul. It said, “The respondents should be directed to ‘prepare a road map in order to restrain beggars and vagabond from begging and roaming on traffic junction and markets to avoid the spread of Covid-19’ and rehabilitate the beggars and the vagabonds with the help of social welfare departments and the District Magistrates of the concerned states.”
Senior Advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, appearing for the petitioner, submitted, “We seek rehabilitation of beggars and people on the road, to provide shelters and protection from Covid-19.”
However, Justice Chandrachud contended, “Your prayer seeking removal of beggars from the road, as a Supreme Court we cannot do this. They do not have a shelter, which is why they are there.”
“The petitioner is heart-wrenched to see that till date, no efforts even after the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic have been made by the States and Union Territories in India for the beggars/vagabonds regarding their rehabilitation, who roam in public places, including markets, traffic signals and public places and thereby, they are a risk to the other citizens and carriers for the spread of Covid-19 virus,” he added.
Advocate Paul, clarifying the contention of Justice Chandrachud said, “We don’t want them to be removed from the road, we need their rehabilitation. I’m really sorry if our prayer didn’t come out in the way we wanted it to be.”
The bench, while dictating the order, noted that there is an urgent need to ensure that these people also deserve as other people of the society to be provided with vaccination. The bench has listed the matter for further hearing after two weeks.