Have to now consider question of rehabilitation, says top court

We will have to now consider the question of rehabilitation, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday after it was informed that a night shelter at Sarai Kale Khan here has been demolished by authorities earlier in the day.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan mentioned the matter before a bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Dipankar Datta, and said the demolition was supposed to start at 10.30 am but the authorities commenced it at 10 am and the night shelter has been demolished.

Bhushan said over 50 people were availing of the night shelter.

When he said that demolition has been done, the bench observed, “Nothing can be done now at this stage. If it is demolished, we have to now consider the question of rehabilitation.”

“The urgency element has gone away,” the top court said.

Bhushan initially mentioned the matter for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud.

He told the bench that earlier the matter pertaining to homeless people was heard by a bench of Justices S R Bhat and Dipankar Datta.

The CJI said that Justice Bhat was not available today and granted him liberty to mention the matter before a bench comprising Justice Datta.

Bhushan rushed to the bench headed by Justice Roy which was in the midst of hearing a matter listed before it.

“There is something very urgent that has propped up. I am sorry to interrupt. This is that homeless matter. There is a night shelter,” Bhushan told the bench.

The bench said it was in the midst of hearing a matter.

After the hearing in the matter was over, Bhushan mentioned the issue relating to demolition of the night shelter and said the authorities have come there with bulldozers.

“The homeless matter is pending before this court. The issue is about a night shelter for homeless people,” he said.

“One night shelter is being demolished right now without providing alternative accommodation. They (authorities) have preponed the demolition. It was supposed to start at

10.30 am but it started at 10 am today,” Bhushan told the apex court.

The bench told him to call the counsel for the other side so that the matter can be heard.

Bhushan said he is being informed that demolition at the site has happened.

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