The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the union and Delhi governments on a PIL seeking to de-criminalise begging in the city.
It also issued notice to the Attorney General to assist the court on the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act.
A Divison Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan sought the response from the Centre, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Social Welfare and Delhi government on the issue within four weeks.
The PIL was filed by one Harsh Mandher, a social worker, through counsel Colin Gonzalvis and Jai Narayan Singh, saying "poverty can never be a crime."
"If a person is destitute and begs for living, such a person cannot be treated as a criminal. He cannot be arrested or sentenced," the petitioner said while referring to the plight of a destitute who was jailed and sentenced for begging.
Mandher, in the petition, said the government should come out in support of destitutes and rehabilitate them in case they indulge in begging. He suggested the government provide food, shelter, clothing besides health services to beggars.