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Right to Shelter a Fundamental Right; State Has Constitutional Duty To Provide House Sites To Poor: Allahabad HC

Team SoOLEGAL 8 Jul 2019 5:00pm

Right to Shelter a Fundamental Right; State Has Constitutional Duty To Provide House Sites To Poor: Allahabad HC

 

The Allahabad High Court while dismissing the “PIL” (Rajesh Yadav Vs State of UP) has held that the right to shelter is a fundamental duty and State has the Constitutional Duty to provide house sites to poor.

The matter was of the poor and landless agricultural laborers of the backward classes who have intruded on the public land. And they were at the residential lease of small plots which were granted to them by the competent authority in 1995 and now they have made their houses over it and are residing there only since that time. But in all these events as observed by the Court, the State Authorities decided to evict them and Court added that before removing them it shall firstly provide them some accommodation.

In this cases there were three issues raised:

1.      Whether removal of shelter of poor landless agricultural laborers, would amount to infringement of their fundamental rights that is Article 19(1) (e) read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India?

2.      Whether removal of shelter can be enforced by the State-respondents without providing alternative accommodation/ shelter to the poor landless agricultural laborers?

3.      Whether relief may be granted in the present PIL which may result in infringing fundamental right to shelter under Article 19(1)(e) read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India?

 

All the issues of the case were interlinked to each other so they were concluded together. The Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani quoted that, “Shelter for a human being, is not a mere protection of his life and limb. It is home where he has opportunities to grow physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually. Right to shelter includes adequate living space, safe and decent structure, cleanand decent surroundings, sufficient light, pure air and water, electricity, sanitation and other civic amenities. Right to life guaranteed in any civilized society implies the right to food, water, decent environment, education, medical care and shelter.”

Right to shelter is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1) (e) read with Article 21 of the Constitution of India. To make the right meaningful to the poor and landless agricultural laborers, particularly of the weaker section of the society, the State has to provide the facilities to build houses. It is the duty of the State to fulfill the basic human and constitutional rights to residence so as to make the right meaningful. Basic needs of man have traditionally been accepted to be three - namely food, clothing, and shelter. That would take within its sweep the right to food, the right to clothing, the right to decent environment and a reasonable accommodation to live in. But no person has a right to encroach and erect structures or otherwise on footpaths, pavement or public space or at any place reserved or earmarked for a public utility. The State has the Constitutional duty to provide adequate facilities and opportunities by distributing its wealth andresources for settlement of life and erection of shelter over their land to make the right to life meaningful, effective and fruitful.

Basic need of man have traditionally been accepted to be three namely- food, clothing and shelter. The right to life is guaranteed in any civilized society. It is the duty of the State to construct houses at reasonable cost and make them easily accessible to the poor. Therefore the State has the right to provide adequate facilities to its people whether in terms of better livelihood or for the providing resources.

So, the Court found that the petitioner wanted to infringe the fundamental right to the poor and landless laborers and it dismissed the petition with the cost imposed on them of Rs.10,000/-  concluding with making Right to Shelter is a Fundamental Right.

Tagged: allahabadhighcourt   righttoshelter   fundamentalright  
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