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    SLIC, Socio-Legal Information Center.
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    HRLN interventions in homeless shelters

    Date : 16/07/2010

    WRIT PETITION (C) NO.196 OF 2001

    People’s Union for Civil Liberties versus Union of India

    HRLN filed a Petition along with the PUCL for the homeless shelters in 2011 for the States of Delhi, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka there is ample scientific evidence that shows that due to an increase in the basal metabolism rate (BMR) with a fall in temperature, higher caloriesar required by the body to maintain body temperature. For instance a report of the World Health Organisation on Nutritional Needs in Emergencies states, “a cold environment increases an individual’s energy expenditure especially if shelter, clothing and/or heating are inadequate”. Current convention uses an average temperature of 20 degree C. as a base, adding an allowance of 100 Kcal for every 5 degree below 20 degree C.

    It is mentioned that Delhi is witnessing some of the coldest temperatures in the last decade and the Government of Delhi has not taken the required steps to protect the people living on the streets from the extreme weather. While during last year, there were 46 shelters during winters, which included 17 permanentsheltersand29temporary shelters, this year the number has been reduced to 33 (17permanent+16temporaryshelters). Further, out of these 16 shelters, one was demolished. It is imperative that the Government of Delhi responds to this situation immediately by setting up more shelter sand protecting homeless people from the cold.

    The honorable Court has ordered for the States and the Union Territories are at liberty to involve concerned officials of the Government and other authorities and design shelter homes according to the particular geographical or other requirements of each State/Union Territories. It must be the endeavor of each State to ensure that in compliance of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, life of homeless people must be properly protected and preserved.

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