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SC allows withdrawal of PIL against making begging offence

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 1 (UNI) The Supreme Court today permitted a 60-year- old petitioner to withdraw his PIL challenging the validity of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959 (BPBA) making begging a criminal offence.

Petitioner Parshadi was himself arrested under the Act when he had gone to return Rs. 50 he owed to a shop-keeper and was sentenced to one year's imprisonment under section 5 (5) of BPBA.

A bench comprising chief justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Mr. Justice C.K. Thakker, however, granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the proper forum.

As per the provision of the Act, first offence attracts one year's jail while second offence is punishable with ten years jail term.

Counsel for the petitioner had earlier pleaded that trafficking may be an offence but begging for survival should not be treated as crime. Beggar has to serve in a certified institution which is worse than a jail, the petitioner has pleaded.

The beggars should be sent to rehabilitation homes instead of being sent to the beggar homes.

The petitioner has also sought court's directions to appoint a commission for visiting all beggar homes in the country and report to the court about inhuman conditions therein.

UNI AKS/SC RP RN1907

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