The Andhra Pradesh High Court has held that ‘Navaratnalu Pedalandariki Illu” which is a Government housing scheme to provide house sites exclusively to women is unconstitutional as it is against the concept of equality.
The court’s observation regarding the scheme:
In agreement with the contentions raised by the petitioner, the court observed that the scheme does deprive eligible men to claim the benefit under the said scheme which violates article 14 of the Constitution Of India and is also contrary to article 39 of the constitution which empowers the state to distribute material resources equally amongst the citizens.
The court further added that denial of allotment of house sites to transsexuals is also violative of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, as most of the transsexuals are living below the poverty line, living by begging and also have no shelter for their protection. Although it is the obligation of the state to take the necessary steps to treat transsexuals at par with women and men, the state still hasn’t taken any necessary steps
The court also observed that the area being allotted is very inadequate for housing and on account of group or cluster housing, fire safety, the environmental impact on health hazards, facilities to drain out sewage water and adequacy of drinking water is to be examined by the State before insisting the allottees to construct houses in allotted sites. The court also found this to be violative of the right to privacy of the citizens, due to the compact housing spaces.
The court added that it is not against the concept of allotment of house site to women household, but this does amount to discrimination, Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy observed while directing the government to consider men and transsexuals too for allotment of houses under the scheme.
Further, the court also directed the State to appoint a special committee consisting of experts from the Ministry of Housing and Urban MSM, Central Pollution Control Board; expert from the Ministry of Housing and Urban MSM, Health expert from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to examine the issues discussed, and to submit a report within one month from the date of receipt of copy of the Order and thereafter publishing the report in two local newspapers inviting objections from the public and then finalizing the scheme ―Navaratnalu – Pedalandariki Illu, for construction of houses keeping in mind the environmental impacts, health hazards etc. and increase/enhance the area, if necessary by acquiring more site. Till the completion of this exercise, further constructions will not be done in the land allotted to beneficiaries under the scheme.