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The Gujarat High Court Thursday asked the central and the state governments to submit their report, within three weeks, on the proposed action to create public awareness that begging was an offence.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Joseph Chelliah who sought the court’s directions to the central and the Gujarat governments to take necessary action to facilitate the mentally challenged orphans, including beggars, in availing their fundamental rights.

Following the court’s earlier order, both the governments Thursday submitted their respective reports on various government schemes which could benefit beggars and mentally challenged orphans.

The division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice K.M. Thaker noted that a petty amount was paid to the poor who underwent the government’s vocational training under various government schemes.

The court opined that the payment under these schemes – which was as low as Rs.50 per day – may lead such people into the clutches of the begging mafia which may be active in Gujarat.

Earlier the court had asked government agencies to find out if there was any mafia taking advantage of such people. It fixed Aug 25, the next date of the case’s hearing, as the deadline for their replies.

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