[Answered] What do you understand by the right to adequate housing? In the light of the present circumstances, discuss the mechanisms available for the protection of the right to adequate housing.

Introduction: About adequate housing

Body: Define Adequate housing and also write some mechanisms for the protection of the right to adequate housing.

Conclusion: Way forward

Adequate housing is not merely a desired goal; it is a basic human right of all human beings. This has been affirmed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing has defined the right to adequate housing, as: “The right of every woman, man, youth and child to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.”

Though there is no legal right in India that guarantees adequate housing, the Supreme Court, has expanded the scope of Article 21 of the Constitution to include right to housing in it. Adequate housing means more than a roof over one’s head. It also means adequate privacy, space, physical accessibility, lighting and basic infrastructures such as water supply, sanitation, etc. and accessible location with regard to work and basic facilities and all should be at an affordable cost.

In recent times, the right to adequate housing has been challenged due to state-led encroachment removal drive. The following mechanisms provide protection to the right to adequate housing:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in Article 25.1, states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care, etc.
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in Article 11 (1) recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living and the States Parties should take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right.
  • The Supreme Court of India, in several judgements, has held that the human right to adequate housing is a fundamental right. Right to shelter derives from the Right of Life under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) indirectly provides safeguards against arbitrary or unlawful interference with home or correspondence.

For full development as human beings, exercise and enjoyment of human rights by all the people is necessary. Despite international legal provisions, the human right to adequate housing is widely violated globally. The state should undertake attempts by all appropriate means to ensure that everyone has access to affordable and acceptable housing.

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