The judgment revolves around the question of whether the right to shelter is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution?
Under Sections 20 and 21 of the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act, 1976, the State Government exempted certain excess land from the provisions of the Act on the condition that the land be used by the builders for the purpose of providing housing for the ‘weaker sections of society.' Due to ineffective implementation of the Act a petition was filled before the Bombay HC, however when the petition was pending certain amendments were made to the Act which affected the petitioners contention. Although it found that the applicant's writ petition had been rendered infructuous, the Bombay High Court gave some directions regarding future monitoring of the scheme sanctioned under Section 20. However, the petitioner approached the SC seeking directions for effective implementation of the Act.
The Indian Constitution:
Article 32: Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by Part III
(1) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed
(2) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III
Article 21: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
Whether right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution includes right to shelter?
Considering the above principles the Court ordered that, no allocation under the Act is to be made before the needs of the persons who fall under the category of “weaker sections of the society” under Article 46 is fulfilled. The Court further held that, the State under Article 46 of the Constitution has an indispensable obligation to provide the weaker sections of the society with reasonable accommodation.