Beggary Exist in India - what are the reasons behind it?

Spreading your hands in front of someone for two days of bread seems like killing your conscience. But it is not hidden from anyone that examples of begging are often seen on the roadside, around religious places or at square-intersections. As a serious citizen, the question may arise in your mind whether these people, who are begging, are in such a condition due to their compulsion or they are victims of some conspiracy.

Surprisingly, no better mechanism has been created in this regard so far. However, recently the Delhi High Court has abolished 25 sections of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 [Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959], a law declaring beggary a crime.

At the same time, criminalization of begging has been declared unconstitutional. The High Court gave this decision during the hearing of two PILs in respect of the fundamental rights of beggars and their fundamental human rights.

It is to be noted here that till now there is no central law in the country regarding begging. On the basis of Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, 20 states and 2 union territories have enacted their own laws. Delhi is also one of them. The other union territory is Daman and Diu.

The most common classification of beggary can be done as voluntary beggary and involuntary beggary. There are many people who adopt begging due to laziness, weak will power to do work etc. Some tribal communities in India also adopt begging as a tradition for their livelihood. But the thing to note here is that not all begging people take it voluntarily.

In fact, due to poverty, hunger and income inequalities, there is a section in the country that does not even get basic facilities like food, clothes and housing. This class many times adopts the option of forced begging. The story of income inequality and starvation in India is revealed only by some reports at the global level.

According to the World Inequality Report published in December 2017, 10% of the people in India have 56% of the country's income. At the same time, India has been ranked 100 in the list of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index released in 2017 by an organization called International Food Policy Research Institute. At the same time India has been placed in countries with severe conditions in case of starvation.

Many times, some gangs also take advantage of the compulsion of such people suffering from poverty. Such gangs collectively run begging rackets. These gangs force poor people to beg, intimidate, deliver drugs, and physically cripple those brought by human trafficking. By altering certain sections of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, the Delhi High Court has made a meaningful effort to protect the right of such poor people to live their lives.


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