The Delhi High Court has ordered release of five women beggars from a welfare home on an undertaking by them and their husbands that they would not further indulge in begging in the Capital and go back to their native place in Rajasthan, dismissing the finding of a Special Metropolitan Magistrate that they are “professional beggars”.
A Metropolitan Magistrate of a mobile court had sent these women from Bhilwara in Rajasthan to a welfare home for one year, holding them guilty of indulging in begging in violation of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act. An Additional Sessions Judge had dismissed their appeals against the Magistrate’s orders.
They had pleaded guilty to the notices served on them by the Magistrate. They told the Magistrate that they had no jobs and money to buy food for their children and that they were receiving alms for their food and daily necessities living on the footpath.
As they could not place any defence, the Magistrate declared them professional beggars and sent them to the welfare home.
Thereafter, they approached the High Court submitting that they were ready to leave begging in the Capital and return to their native villages. All the five women along with their husbands and their children in the laps appeared before the Court on production warrants and gave undertakings not to indulge in begging here and leave the city.
Ordering their release, Justice M. L. Mehta said: “In such circumstances, I feel that instead of making their children further suffer, they can be released on their executing bonds of good behaviour without sureties on their undertaking not to involve in begging or to be seen begging in Delhi.”
On the finding of the Magistrate, Justice Mehta said: “When the learned Magistrate had noted that they had come to Delhi for begging and had no job or money and were living on footpath and receiving alms for food and daily necessities, it cannot be said that the petitioners are professional beggars but they were begging for necessities.”