Begging not illegal: HC
New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Wednesday decriminalised begging in the national capital, saying provisions penalising the act were unconstitutional, nearly three months after wondering aloud how it could be treated as an offence in a country where the government was unable to provide food or jobs.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar said the inevitable consequence of the decision would be that prosecution under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act against persons alleged to have committed the offence of begging would be liable to be struck down.
The law prescribes a penalty of more than three years of jail in case of first conviction for begging and the person can be ordered to be detained for 10 years in subsequent conviction.
Now, 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 it.
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