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Criminalization Of Begging In India

Wherever we go in India, we can definitely see beggars in the street. It can be for various reasons like lack of education, lack of job opportunities, etc. Whenever we see a beggar in a street, two thoughts come to our mind either we should give money as they are needy or we shouldn't give money to them as it will lead to encouraging them to beg. Many of us didn't know that begging is an offense in various states of India where a beggar can be detained for 3 to 10 years. For example, there is the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 which is accepted by almost 22 states and is an anti-begging law in India.

Although in 2018, Delhi High Court decriminalized begging for the state of Delhi.[1] But there are no laws from the side of the Centre. But we need to analyze whether the anti-begging laws without the option of rehabilitation are really curative in nature or not. Because most often we see the kidnapping of a child and then the child is found as a beggar in cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Begging is deeply related to child trafficking, human trafficking, and drug abuse, and thus begging has become an organized crime itself. Also, the implementation of anti-begging laws can be colored action of the state where they have a political interest. Besides, we need to verify whether the criminalization of begging will come under the umbrella of a violation of fundamental rights or not.

The beggary as a practice is in existence in India for a long time. In fact, in ancient India, it was a practice that a King is duty-bound to take care of everyone in his state including beggars which continued throughout the monarchy. The system of beggary can be seen in ancient Hindu texts like Ramayana as well. From time immemorial we can see that the beggary is a religious and moral duty and people think that by giving alms, blessings and fortune will come.

Traditionally begging became a way of life in India and giving alms to the beggars was in-built a social fabric. But this position changed during colonial rule because according to Victorians the beggary embodied laziness and moral degeneration. Today most states have adopted laws to regulate beggary by going against earlier social and ethical practices.[2]

The beggary comes from homelessness and poverty. The homeless people in India are very different from the homeless in the rest of the world. The homeless are actually incarcerated and punished under the law for their poverty, misery, and for being on the streets. There are laws that actually subjugate them, incarcerate them, and puts them in jail and that is ironic in a way that they're already suffering and then we are inflicting even more suffering and misery on them.

We must remember that poverty is a very difficult condition to live in and poverty is also a very difficult condition to get out of without honest help and effort. If the poor were really making no effort at all they wouldn't even be alive because it's so like everything has to be bought and legality has to be bought as well. So, every day of their lives, they work to keep themselves and their families alive.

Research Questions:
Q1: Whether begging should be criminalized or not?

Q2: Whether the anti-begging laws without proper rehabilitation are really curative in nature or not?

Q3: Whether the implementation of anti-begging laws can be colored action of the state where they have a political interest or not?

Q4: Whether the criminalization of begging will come under the umbrella of a violation of fundamental rights or not?

With the end goal of this paper, the hypothesises are:

H1: Begging should be criminalized as it is a way to extort the other side of the people.

H2: The anti-begging laws are not curative in nature.

H3: The implementation of the anti-begging laws is a disguised action of the Govt.

H4: The criminalization of begging is a violation of fundamental rights.

Research Methodology
This paper has been written after extensive reading of several aspects of begging and anti-begging laws in India. The present paper deals with analytical research and elucidating study. Information for this research is gathered from secondary sources. Data collection methods are- Books, Articles, Magazines, and Journals.

Literature Review
As per different papers available in the literature, there are a few studies that focus on the trend analysis of legislation in the Indian region. The studies on Indian legislation present long-term trends. These studies use data from various surveys and judgments. However, not all aspects of justice systems have been adequately noticed, hence the current study attempts to do that.

Also, the studies in India from the past are more focused on the situation with the old laws, so the need to analyze the present situation is required for the authorities to get a better insight into the present situation. Similarly, there are other blogs and articles that were developed for analyzing the effect on the arms of government, and various UN and WHO reports have also been analyzed and referred to.

Anti-begging laws
Some selected states only adopted a legal approach to regulate beggary in India. As of now 20 states and 2 union territories have anti-begging laws where some states adopted other states' existing anti-begging laws.[3]

The 20 states and their respective anti-begging laws are:
  1. Andhra Pradesh → The Andhra Pradesh Prevention of Beggary Act, 1977
  2. Assam → The Assam Prevention of Begging Act, 1964
  3. Bihar → The Bihar Prevention of Begging Act, 1951
  4. Jharkhand → The Bihar Prevention of Begging Act, 1951 (adopted)
  5. Goa → The Goa, Daman & Diu Prevention of Begging Act, 1972
  6. Haryana → The Haryana Prevention of Begging Act, 1971
  7. Himachal Pradesh → The Himachal Pradesh Prevention of Begging Act, 1979
  8. Jammu & Kashmir → The J&K Prevention of Begging Act, 1960 (Struck down in 2019)
  9. Karnataka → The Karnataka Prevention of Begging Act, 1975
  10. Kerala → The Madras Prevention of Begging Act, 1945, the Travancore Prevention of Begging Act, 1120, and the Cochin Vagrancy Act, 1120 are in force in different areas of the State
  11. Tamil Nadu → The Madras Prevention of Begging Act, 1945 (adopted)
  12. Madhya Pradesh → The Madhya Pradesh Bikshavirty Nivaran Adhiniyam, 1973
  13. Chhattisgarh → The Madhya Pradesh Bikshavirty Nivaran Adhiniyam, 1973 (adopted)
  14. Maharashtra → The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959
  15. Gujarat → The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 (adopted)
  16. Punjab → The Punjab Prevention of Begging Act, 1971
  17. Sikkim → The Sikkim Prohibition of Beggary Act, 2004
  18. Uttar Pradesh → The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Begging Act, 1972
  19. Uttarakhand → The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Begging Act, 1972 (adopted)
  20. West Bengal → The West Bengal Vagrancy Act, 1943

The 2 union territories and their respective anti-begging laws are:
  1. Daman & Diu � The Goa, Daman & Diu Prevention of Begging Act, 1972 (adopted)
  2. Delhi � The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 (adopted) (Struck down in 2018)

Who is a beggar under Anti-begging laws?
The tragedy of the Indian legal system and the way in which it is enforced is that a large part of the law we can find is used especially in relation to persons in various conditions of poverty. It is used to control the poor and not used to help them get out of it. The criminal law was not meant to be used in a way for controlling people who have freedom, and liberty. When they do wrong, the criminal law will step in.

In the anti-beggary law, looking poor and looking without visible means of subsistence, being hungry, and asking somebody for kinds of help have become the legal definition of crime. If there are people committing crimes, we don't have a criminal justice system that says that you can just pick people up because they are potential criminals.

We had this Act which the British brought in called the Criminal Tribes Act, where people who belong to a certain tribe were presumed to be criminals. So, no individual in that could venture out of it and the persons who are in that category had to fight a battle to be able to get out of it, and then later they're called de-notified tribes. The existing Anti-beggary laws refer back to the idea of criminality that was attributed to them. The various kinds of people in poverty in this country are being treated in a similar kind of way.[4]

The current laws consider anyone who appears to be poor or destitute as a beggar. Thus, it is essential to formulate a method to distinguish a beggar from others like street vendors, street performers, pavement dwellers, migrant workers, and others who might solicit arms. Without wide interpretation, the current law leads to nothing but misuse of the law. That is why it needs a more specific and clear interpretation.

The legal definition should be unambiguous and applicable in a proper way. So, the definition of beggars needs a re-definition and re-analysis. The factors that must be considered regarding a person as a beggar should also be re-looked so that a migrant worker or a pavement dweller is not randomly picked up and confined in the rehabilitation center or is not dealt with like an offender under law.

Implementation of Anti-Begging Act
The Anti-Beggary law of 1959[5] came in at a time when the state was a new state after India became independent and the state was trying to figure out how to deal with the various elements of the population. They dealt with slums in a certain kind of way but they didn't really think of it as homelessness as much as at that stage and they felt the need to deal with this phenomenon of begging because it has two different branches.

One side of it is that for all these people who are begging, we need to bring them in, train them, and rehabilitate them so that they can sustain themselves in the work that they will be able to do. The other aspect of it was that they saw them as a nuisance to the state and this kind of visible poverty shouldn't be coming out. This confusion in the mind of the lawmaker at that time is visible even within the law.

Soon after the law was made the idea of rehabilitation just became custody where you could arrest a person who was ostensibly poor, who did not have a visible means of subsistence. For instance, you work in a garage as your garage mechanic and you're scruffy and you go back and you sleep on the street, though you are an employed person and working for your livelihood but as you're seen as ostensibly poor and potentially a person in degree, they would pick them up and arrest them and send them into a custodial institution.

The original idea of the custodial institution was that it would be home and after bringing the beggars, they will be trained so that they can go back, work, and sustain themselves but that got dropped very early.

The action of the State
The state really hasn't put any kind of effort into this and what has happened is that those who are on the street visibly in the state where you look at them and you think that they are not having a means of subsistence, the police can treat them as persons in beggary and pick them up and put them into custodial institutions which completely changes the idea of poverty into criminality. Because they are then taken away and they are put into an institution from where they can't get out without court orders. Implementation of anti-begging Acts can be proved to be a disguise to hide the failure of the state to remove poverty.

During the anti-begging raids conducted by the police, any person who looks like a beggar can be arrested. Ministers during elections promise many things like removing poverty. But after the election, we cannot see any result. Then they come up with these laws to remove beggars so that it can be proved that they worked for removing the property in the state just in the eyes of the public a large.

As we have voted and elected the ministers, it is their duty to protect and care about us as a guide and understand the condition of the beggars and help them to come out of that vulnerable situation. They should give them a better livelihood and opportunities for rehabilitation rather than giving arbitrary power to the police for arresting beggars. Because beggars can be removed from the nation but the way is not by putting the beggars behind the bars but with proper rehabilitation and reformation.

The state should give proper schemes and come up with job opportunities for beggars.[6] For example, if you give fish to a person, you are giving them food for one day but if you teach fishing to that person then you can give livelihood to that person. The same thing applies to the Govt. The govt. should teach such manners to the beggars so that they are not required to beg and they can live their life with respect.

Actual Scenario of making the beggars invisible
As we had a law, their first encounter with the state would be with the police and the police is a law and order in nature but not a social justice and empowerment force. So, if the police pick them up obviously, they take them away to a magistrate who will be told that these are all people we found begging on the street whether they were actually begging or not doesn't matter. Thus, a law that was supposed to help persons in execution and help them to rise up above destitution became a law that was used to suppress persons with various needs of poverty and economic needs. Thus, they are significant to the rest of the world.

So, one of the early interventions that had to be made was to tell the state that the state needs to legislatively prioritize the repeal of a law of this kind. To explain that we need to show them that this law just picks up a person whom they think is in beggary and puts them into institutions.

It deprives them of liberty, put them through a judicial process over which they have no control, and allows a discharge from that institution to happen only when the judiciary has later presented the case and if they are convinced. This whole process and the process that the police have on the ground of raids and rounding up of people whom they think are in beggary has to stop.

So, we should not criminalize poverty per se[7] and if in the process they need to be picked up and taken into custody and build high walls around then that would be a process of invisibility. Because when they get picked up and put away people who were maybe part of a cluster or of contract employees or part of somebody who was a daily wager, they can't go back to the place that they came from.

The first thing that custody does is to cut the beggars off so they may be unavailable for four days, four months, or one year and then when they go back whatever little work they had has gone. Also, the custodial institutions stigmatize the beggars who came from beggars' homes with the burden of poverty. Another aspect is that the police should not be brought into this poverty as it is not a crime. The police are used to dealing with law-and-order issues when we make it the job of the police to deal with them.

Beggars as an individual vs. class
The first thing that needs to be done is to recognize that they are citizens and not just persons in poverty. If they are citizens, they are entitled to all the rights which we are entitled to and more. Because fundamental rights and human rights jurisprudence is basically meant for people who have less so that they can help themselves in raising from wherever they are in a static condition of poverty. The anti-beggary law is saying this class of people commit crimes, get into drugs and are a nuisance to the state and the public at large. If one person is doing wrong, they are treated as a class but not as an individual.

For instance, in the corporate world, there has been a lot of corporate criminality in a setup but we don't say that class of people is committing a crime so pick them all up and deal with them as an individual or as a company. In criminal law, if you find a person committing a crime you can deal with them. The law does not provide that these people are a class who have the potential to commit a crime and how else they will be surviving other than by committing a crime.

This comes from a deep ignorance of the relationship between law and persons in poverty which tells that it is the poor who avoid committing offenses as much as they can because they know if they get into that net, it's very difficult to get out of it. This comes from a complete misunderstanding of what persons in poverty do for themselves and for their families and we should not allow that ignorance to become the law and public policy. Apparently, it seems like it's a logical thing to just kind of repeal something that is so archaic and so inhuman in that sense because it's making the poor even poorer in that sense by not giving them a chance at all.

What if no law at all for beggary
Some states have said that it should not be without any law at all because legislators may not fully understand what the implication of no law situation is in the context of persons in beggary. But we can find that there is no such thing as a person in beggary rather there are persons who may beg and if we forget the person then all we'll see is begging. For instance, there are no criminals rather there are people who commit crimes, there are no lepers rather there are persons who have leprosy. So, if we forget the person, we get inhuman so we need to consider the person in the whole picture.

It is about destitution and what we need to treat is the problem of destitution not about people who are in destitution having to go and ask people for various kinds of things. So, if there is to be a law that is concerned with persons in various conditions of destitution or poverty then it can only be to empower some departments of the State to reach out and offer services to people who are in these various conditions.

For example, when people grow up, everybody grows up into adulthood protected and not really knowing the world but the beggars are the people who know the world and deal with the world every day of their lives and still we don't treat them like grown-up adults. They are kept at best in a paternalistic kind of format where we'll pick them up and put them in institutions. The relationship between a person who wants to help and the person whom they are trying to help has to be based on trust and then it's possible that a person in poverty may say I want to come and get trained.

Difference between anti-begging laws and IPC
There is an area of people who actually don't want to help themselves even when we offer facilities to them. That comes under criminality and we need to think about how we can control them. One of the major concerns is the fact that the gangs are out on the loose and create a lot of rackets. Even though they are so-called beggars on the road but they are being controlled by the gangs and basically, it's a syndicate or a mafia that they are running and it's pretty prevalent. We need to think that if the law goes away what's going to happen to these actual negative sides of the beggary?

We have to understand what is the reality and the stories, and dramas that we are being watched in movies and TV. It is not that there is no instance as of such. In 2007, two doctors had been found amputating the legs of people, a charge was laid against them. To deal with this we have the Indian Penal Code which deals with this as an offense. If anyone is going to kidnap people, force people into beggary, or make money off this kind of work then that person ought to be punished but it is totally separate from what the Anti-Beggary law is. To make the beggary a crime there should be the criminal elements which are- moral wrong, mens rea, necessity and harm caused.[8]

Violation of Fundamental Right
In America, these are called the Bill of Rights, and commonly we know it as basic rights. But in India, we call them Fundamental Rights. Magna Carta was the first written document that was related to fundamental rights. These were made in England in 1215. When the Indian constitution was being made then to form the fundamental rights, we took inspiration from the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights.

In Indian Constitution, fundamental rights are in part 3 from articles 12 to 35. The main objective of fundamental rights is to secure the political freedom of people. All the political freedoms of people by the constitution are secured through fundamental rights and all the social and economic principles are secured by the Directive Principle of State Policy. There are two main reasons for being called fundamental. First is, these are very important for any individual's all-round development. Secondly, no human being could exist without these rights. The important features of fundamental rights are- first of all, fundamental right acts as a check on unlimited powers of the state. Fundamental rights impose restrictions on the state's unlimited, arbitrary powers.

Hence, they protect individual rights. The second feature is, fundamental rights are available against the state and not against private individuals. The third one is, fundamental rights are not of absolute nature. A reasonable restriction might be imposed on them. The fundamental rights could be suspended during an emergency. For instance, during an emergency article 19 is automatically suspended. Even further if the President wants, he may suspend other fundamental rights also.

There are only two articles that can't be suspended during an emergency which are article 20 and article 21. Originally there were seven fundamental rights in our constitution. But through the 44th amendment made in 1978, the Right to Property under article 19 (1) F and article 31 was deleted, and then it was introduced as a constitutional right in article 300. So, there are total 6 fundamental rights[9] which are-
  1. Right to Equality (Art. 14-18)
  2. Right to Freedom (Art. 19-22)
  3. Right against Exploitation (Art. 23-24)
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Art. 25-28)
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Art. 29-30)
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Art. 32-35)

If these rights are infringed then that will be called a violation of fundamental rights and the common people can stand against this violation.

In the context of beggary, it has come out that the anti-beggary laws are a violation of articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution. In the Delhi High Court judgment, it was held that the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 was a violation of fundamental rights under art. 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. It struck down some provisions of the Act like arresting the beggar without a warrant, taking the beggar directly to court, conducting a summary inquiry, and detention for 10 years.

It is also observed that under art. 21 of the Indian Constitution, it is the state's responsibility to provide the basic necessities for survival to all its citizens, and poverty in the country is the result of the state's failure to do its obligation. So, the state cannot criminalize beggary as this is the most visible and public manifestation of the failure of the Govt. machinery to provide basic necessities to individuals.

In the Jammu and Kashmir High Court judgment, the J&K Prevention of Begging Act, 1960 was struck down and it is explicitly premised upon the unconstitutionality of "invisiblizing" a social problem by criminalizing it. Thus, it shows us the exact way in which our Constitution rejects this harsh worldview of criminalizing the social problem of beggary.

The court observed that the beggary laws belong within the family of punitive constitutionalism. Rights are no longer about being human, but about earning the right to be treated as a human. It identified the colonial origins of the law and found it to be a gross violation of human dignity, equality, and freedom.

In India, we had a judgment in 2007 where the Delhi High Court for the first time acknowledged that it's a strange situation where we can work for the poor with a license to collect money but the beggar himself cannot go to ask for money to someone. As, in the Delhi Court, certain provisions of the law and in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court virtually almost all parts of the law were struck down as being unconstitutional.

If two High Courts have found that this is unconstitutional and it is against article 14, article 19, and article 21 of the Indian Constitution then obviously it is justified to think that this law cannot survive in other jurisdictions but it's unconstitutional only in two states as of now. It is like we have anti-poor laws and there is a great deal of insensitivity. The lawmakers should understand that this draconian law of the Bombay Beggary Act which is still being implemented should be repealed.[10]

Case law
In the case of Ram Lakhan v. State, the petitioner was found guilty of begging as per the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, and convicted for 1 year. Instead of sending to a rehabilitation center, he was sent to jail as a rigorous prisoner. He challenged against this claiming the confinement was a violation of his fundamental right. The petition got accepted and he was acquitted of the conviction. It was held that the confinement in jail was an illegal detention and he was not proved as a beggar beyond a reasonable doubt under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959.[11]

Considering essential elements of criminal liability from case to case
A law declaring an act as a crime must consider the factors essential to criminalizing like the injury or harm-based approach that is whether such an offense is actually causing any injury or harm to the person or society at large or whether such an act is immoral in nature and many other such factors.

Criminalizing beggary without considering the factors essential to criminalizing is nothing but criminalizing poverty. Further criminalizing all the beggars is unjustified as it often leads to the dismissive treatment of the beggars in the police station and in the courts, which further shows mismanagement and disrespect, and discrimination against beggars.

Imposing fines upon beggars thereby leading to further victimization of beggars, who are already the victims of poverty and neglected by the State is an uncalled approach by the law. The nature of the sanction imposed by the existing anti-begging laws being mostly punitive in nature also requires a re-look.

Law must regard beggary as not a choice of people entering into it but as a survival mechanism and accordingly draft legal provisions and legal mechanisms. The legal approach must adopt an all-inclusive policy to prevent begging along with punishing and rehabilitating beggars which will be justified from case to case. Another problem associated with the current legal approach is that there is a faulty, arbitrary, and unfair implementation of the law at many stages in various forms. So, it is essential to make this law practically implementable.

Beggary even if committed due to necessity it should be regardless an act that is justified and hence does not deserve any punishment rather should be treated as an offense committed under duress which in fact also an excusable act. Imposing criminal liability in such cases is also not in accordance with the principles of criminal liability as the required guilty mind of the accused is lacking in such cases. Unless the guilty mind element is proved on the account of the accused, he or she cannot be held liable even under the anti-beggary laws. Hence, the criminalization of beggars at all levels of beggars per se is not just illegal but is also against the established factors of criminalization and principles of criminal liability.

Proper rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is essential for preventing begging, yet it is found that many times, people are randomly picked up and the actual procedure of convicting them, which is essential to send them to rehabilitation centers is not at all complied with. Thus, the law needs to address this concern from a socio-economic perspective rather than criminalizing the entire community of beggars.

In this regard, certain legal provisions need to be framed while certain provisions are required proper amendments. This can ensure there will be only people who are actually involved in begging who neither have any means to earn a livelihood nor have the ability to do so are sent to rehabilitation centers. It is necessary to measure the essential to release beggars from rehabilitation centers once they are made able to earn their livelihood which in fact can be done by giving appropriate occupational training and educational facilities while they are in rehabilitation centers.

Further powers imposed upon magistrate under the current law needs to be effectively exercised by such judicial offices only after considering relevant factors like the economic factors, social factors, health condition of such beggars, the possibility of making an earning, and the need of sending them to rehabilitation and the period during which such persons shall be kept in the custody of rehabilitation centers, etc. requires a re-look.

The rehabilitation schemes and practices need to be relooked so as to develop a better custodial jurisprudence clarifying the nature of duties and responsibilities of the officials. Taking care of such custodial detention or rehabilitation as the case may be. Imposing legal obligation and punishment on failure to do the duties upon such officials to effectively discharge the duties without any negligence on their part.

Uniform law
India currently lacks a cohesive and humanly policy which is essential to tackle the problem of beggary. A loss of day is unfortunately a replica of the old laws of Europe which fails to take care of the socio-economic concerns which are adversely responsible for the system of begging. This wrongful approach of begging in all instances is a criminal act. Hence, we need a uniform law for the entire nation with a common legal approach to remove the problem of beggary.

Need amendment in IPC
The government of India had set up a committee in the year of 1968 to study the problem of kidnapping children for purposes of begging which revealed the fact that the problem is more due to the organized gangs being involved in the racket. In this regard, it is essential to make necessary amendments to the current provisions of the law including the Indian Penal Code and Anti-beggary laws of the state.

The IPC provisions which deal with kidnapping for purpose of begging under 363A require a re-look. This section only talks about the kidnapping of a minor who is under 16 years of age for males and who is under 18 years of age for females for the purpose of begging. Though there are punishments for this like ten years of imprisonment, imprisonment of life, and a fine, it is not enough to eradicate the root cause of it.

This section also talks about the legal definition of begging which also needs to be re-looked at as its ambit is wide. As it cannot be forgotten that this in fact can be an organized crime and the purpose of the law should be breaking organized crime. If these acts are done to any person not being a minor, it also requires criminalization which currently is not covered under the IPC. So, kidnapping and abducting an adult for the purpose of begging should also be brought into the framework of IPC.

Begging is a problem for society as much as it is a concern for the person who is involved in it because this indicates the non-utilization of the available human resource and drags upon the existing resources of the society. We need to prioritize the rehabilitation of the beggars which must in fact be done in such a manner that they are effectively trained in the possible occupations of their choice so that when they are made able to contribute to themselves and as well as to the society, they can come out from the rehabilitation centers. Because without a proper system of rehabilitation the laws are not curative in nature and it only increases their vulnerability. India as a nation needs to think that the begging population requires considerable attention.

With the nation aspiring for world standards in every field, socio-economic measures are needed to curb the practice of begging problems in the country. The solution calls for a comprehensive program and a re-orientation program for the existing programs. The philanthropic approach is essential to curb the problem in a more effective and appropriate manner that is not just punitive and unjustified in nature as the current situation.

To conclude, it can be said that the current legal framework of India in criminalizing beggary goes against the social and ethical perspective of the society and therefore there is a need to re-look at the factors of the criminalization and the current laws. It is important to note that beggary per se is not harmful and therefore does not deserve criminalization at all levels in all cases.

A person taking begging due to other means of livelihood or due to impossibility of making an earning either due to his health, age or such other concerns and on the other hand another person who is begging deliberately in spite of having the ability and opportunity to earn the livelihood should be differentiated. The approach of the law should be different between these two categories.

The person taking up the beggary in spite of taking the ability to have the livelihood should be definitely dealt with the stringent law and imposition of criminal liability. Also, certain aggravated acts of beggary like forcing a person to get involved in beggary, using children for begging, deliberately involved in beggary despite having means of livelihood, begging leading to annoyance to the public definitely deserve criminalization for which the existing IPC and the state anti-begging laws are insufficient to deal with.

Thus, the current anti-beggary laws with punitive nature are unjustified and because this requires custodial detainment or imprisonment of beggars in most cases requires a completely fresh approach. The current practice of criminalizing and rehabilitating in custody fails to fulfill the purposes of the punishments including deterrent, retribution, reformation, and compensation as well.

Though a law aims to achieve rehabilitation, it is currently involuntary in nature and it is being forced upon the person considered the accused under the anti-beggary laws. So, this is unjust and unfair. The combination of the preventive and therapeutic approaches is required in the present scenario rather than the punitive approach alone as it cannot fulfill the objective of the law solely.

  • Soibam Rocky Singh, 'Delhi High Court decriminalises begging in the national capital' The Hindu (New Delhi, 9 August 2018), accessed 5 July 2022
  • Elaine Clark, 'Institutional and Legal Responses to Begging in Medieval England' (2002), accessed 6 July 2022
  • Anubhav Pandey, 'Indian Anti-Beggary Law' , accessed 7 July 2022
  • Soni Shivansh, 'Beggary Laws in India: A Constitutional Analysis' , accessed 8 July 2022
  • Dyutimoy Mukherjee, 'Laws For Beggars, Justice for Whom: A Critical Review of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959' (2008), accessed 15 July 2022
  • 'How can begging be an offence if govt unable to provide food, jobs: HC', The Economic Times (2018), accessed 25 July 2022
  • Rine Chandran, 'Begging is not a crime, Delhi High Court rules' (2018), accessed 19 July 2022
  • Chauhan S, 'Anti-Begging Legislation of India: From Responsibility to Repression' (2014), accessed 29 July 2022
  • 'Fundamental Rights', accessed 9 July 2022
  • Gautam Bhatia, 'Something of freedom is yet to come: The significance of the Delhi High Court's decriminalization of beggary' (2018)
  • , accessed 12 July 2022
  • Ram Lakhan v. State [2006] 137 (2007) DLT 173

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