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The Gujarat High Court Thursday asked the state government to formulate a policy to address the rehabilitation of beggars and consider sending them to villages and offering them jobs there.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice K.M. Thaker told the government to finalise its policy on the issue within three weeks.

The court noted that the rehabilitation and development was the only option for dealing with the issue of beggars in the state.

It suggested the state government rehabilitate the beggars in villages and emphasized on ensuring implementation of various central and state schemes to provide them employment.

The government counsel contended that there was no permanent solution to the issue as many of the beggars were willingly engaged in begging and did not want to do anything else.

He said that the Bombay Beggary Prevention Act was in force in the state and beggars were dealt with under the law.

The court was hearing a public suit filed by Joseph Chelliah, who sought the court’s directions to the central and state governments to take necessary action to proctect the fundamental rights of mentally challenged orphans, including beggars, or to allow their mercy killing.

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