13 April 2010
The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre asking whether there were any plans to take care of people with learning disabilities, living on the streets without any shelter.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya sought the union government’s answer on the issue on basis of a PIL filed by Joseph Chelliah, who works as a driver with AMTS. The Centre has been asked to file the reply by April 28, when further hearing is kept on this issue.
Chelliah, who has recently migrated to the city from Tamil Nadu, had written a letter to the Union Ministry of Human Resources and Development last month, urging it to create facilities, whereby these people can be provided shelters. But, since he did not get any response, he filed a PIL in the high court. Raising the issue of fundamental right to food and health of any Indian citizen, the PIL has sought court’s direction to the government to set up shelters for people with mental illness as well as orphanages for their children.
Chelliah has also urged the court to ask the Centre to give these people mercy killing, if it cannot afford to look after them. He also argued that the number of people with learning disabilities is less as compared to that of senior citizens, for whom the government has come up with various beneficial schemes. Interestingly, Chelliah as sought that till the government can establish shelters for these people, they should at least be facilitated with a hair cut and shave as this too is part of hygiene.