Ministry has drafted Bill to Decriminalise Begging Centre Told to Delhi High Court
- The ministry of social Justice has drafted a bill to decriminalise begging and rehabilitate beggars and homeless people, the centre and AAP government told Delhi High Court today. The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal which directed the ministry to place on record a copy of the draft legislation- The Persons in Destitution( Protection, Care and Rehabilitation) Model Bill, 2016.
- The Court was hearing two PILs seeking basic human and fundamental rights for the beggars in the national capital and for decriminalising begging. Advocate Kushal Kumar, appearing forthe ministry, told the court that pre-legislative consultation meeting with representatives from the states and union territories was recently organised to seek their opinions. He said the Centre has asked all stakeholders to share their views and suggestions for eradication of poverty.
- Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot had said at a pre-legislative consultation meeting that the Bill “will provide protection,care,support,shelter,training and otherservices to all persons in destitution”. The approach of the ministry towads addressing the problem of destitution and beggary was “rehabilitative rather than punitive,’’ he had said.
- The ministry had also then said that the model law was drafted on recommendations from the nationalconsultation m eetings held with state and experts representatives in the field of beggary.Currently, there is no central law on begging and destitution and most states have adopted the Bombay prevention of Begging Act, 1959, which criminalises begging,or have modelled their laws on that basis. The two Petition have Challenged the Bombay prevention of Begging Act.
- The bench today asked the ministry to furnish a copy of the draft bill to the petitioners, Harsh Mandar and karnika Sawhney, Who have in their pleas also sought basic amenities like proper food and medical facilities at all beggars’ homes in the city. Their pleas were first filed in the Supreme Court from they were transferred to Delhi High Court. The High Court in October last year was told that Delhi Police was assisting the AAP government in removing beggars from tourist spots, traffic intersections and religious places in Delhi.