Bombay HC asks TISS to join PIL to address begging problem in MaharashtraUpdated: Oct 21, 2020, 00:19 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) has asked the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to be added as a party in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Pune resident seeking directions to state and local authorities to take action against syndicates that force children and women to beg on streets and traffic signals.
The PIL also seeks provisions for the welfare of the children and women during Covid-19 pandemic and implementation of the Maharashtra Prevention of Begging Act, 1960.
The court while observing that as the issues raised in the PIL were serious and important it was widening the scope to cover the entire state and directed the state to file an affidavit by November 23, stating the measures taken for rehabilitation of children and women indulging in begging activities and posted further hearing on December 1.
The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni, while hearing the suo moto PIL instituted by the HC in 2016 and a PIL filed by Punekar Dhyaneshwar Darwatkar, was informed by advocate Shekhar Jagtap that the plight of the children and women forced into begging continued unabated even though the HC had passed orders to curb it.
Jagtap submitted that despite a specific direction to the state by an HC bench which included justice Kulkarni to devise a mechanism to rescue and rehabilitate children and women being forced to beg on streets and at traffic signals, nothing had been done.
Justice Kulkarni concurred with Jagtap’s submission of begging continuing unabated and said he was very much pained to see children and women begging on the signal outside Mantralaya.
Jagtap further reiterated that in the Covid situation also the children and women forced to beg had no relief and were exposed to the pandemic as they did not have any safe place to stay. He also submitted that the state should formulate a policy to provide skill training to such rescued persons so that they may start earning a livelihood.
Chief public prosecutor Deepak Thakare informed the bench that the state was not in a position to provide a livelihood to the rescued persons.
After hearing the submission, the bench observed that as the issues raised in both the PILs were important and serious, it was expanding the scope of the PIL from Pune to the entire state and asked the state to file a detailed affidavit enlisting the measures it had taken to rehabilitate children and women who were into begging activity, by November 23. The court also sought the assistance of TISS and directed that it be added as a party to the PILs and posted them for hearing on December 1.