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Begging no more an offence in Delhi: High Court

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New Delhi, August 8, After Delhi High Court has reversed the legal provisions that criminalize begging in the national capital, Begging won’t be a crime anymore in Delhi as it will no more be treated as an offense in the national capital. The reason behind the reversing in the legal provisions has been given as people beg on streets not because of their wish but as a “last resort” to meet their needs.

The Delhi High Court said that criminalizing begging took away the most fundamental rights of some of the people in our society. The court even added that criminalizing the activity blamed the state for not being able to ensure even the bare essentials of the right to life for all its citizens.

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Acting Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed, “Criminalising begging is a wrong approach to deal with the underlying causes of the problem. It ignores the reality that people who beg are the poorest of the poor and marginalized in society. Criminalising begging violates the most fundamental rights of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. People in this stratum do not have access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, and health, and in addition, criminalizing begging denies them the basic fundamental right to communicate and seek to deal with their plight.”

Bench shared by Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that by criminalizing the activity, the state can not halt the facilities to be provided to its citizens and neither it can increase more to the sufferings by arresting those who beg in order to survive in this world.

Regarding the decision by the Delhi High Court, Criminal lawyer Ashish Dixit said that though the government is legalizing the activity as it is the last resort for some people but it can become a challenge for the state as begging comes with the civic nuisance. He also said that the activity which government is legalizing will create problems on the roads and at the traffic signals as it did before.

“The state will have to come up with an action plan to streamline beggars and rehabilitate them through various employment schemes and training,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

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