Hearing the public interest litigation regarding eviction of leprosy patients from the banks of the Ganga and other locations in Haridwar, the Uttarakhand High Court has directed the State government to take a decision on the detailed project report on housing for leprosy patients before January 2 considering the cold weather which has set in. The division bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice RC Khulbe also directed the secretaries of Urban Development and Social Welfare along with Haridwar district magistrate to submit a report on the state of implementation of Supreme Court guidelines for welfare of leprosy patients. The affidavit submitted by the leprosy eradication officer in the court states that in pursuance of the Supreme Court directions, the official had in the past submitted a DPR for 16 homes worth Rs 4.80 crore for leprosy patients for which the budget has not been passed yet. The official stated that a letter had also been sent to the State government for implementation of the Supreme Court guidelines for welfare of leprosy patients on which the government has not taken any decision yet. Considering this, the HC has directed the State government to take a decision on the DPR by January 2.
Dehradun based NGO Act Now Welfare Society Trust had written a letter to the Chief Justice in the past stating that while removing encroachments in Haridwar, the authorities had also evicted leprosy patients from the banks of Ganga and other places. The leprosy patients were rendered homeless and forced to brave the elements, the NGO had stated in its letter. It was stated that during the President’s visit in 2018, the then district magistrate had directed demolition of Ganga Mata Kushth Rog Ashram at Chandi Ghat and other Ashrams for leprosy patients. There were seven other big Ashrams for leprosy patients near the Ganga Mata Kushth Rog Ashram but these were not demolished as they are connected to persons with high political connections, the NGO stated. It further stated that the State government is not following the Supreme Court directions which state that the government should rehabilitate leprosy patients and provide them basic facilities.Taking cognisance of the letter, the HC took up the matter in the form of a public interest litigation.