HC asks Maharashtra to prepare policy to rehabilitate child beggars

The Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra Government to come out with a comprehensive policy to rehabilitate child beggars in the city.

Expressing concern over the rising number of child beggars in the city, a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka asked the government to rescue them and provide facilities for their accommodation and education.

The bench was suo motu hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) stating that there was an urgent need for the State to address this problem.

The HC had earlier asked the government to find out the number of children begging on the city streets and how many of them are orphans and whether others have parents or guardians.

In this regard, the HC had asked the government to refer to a census of child beggars conducted in 2013 by Asha Mukundan, a professor of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and various other NGOs.

The government must find out how many children have taken to begging either forcibly or voluntarily, the petition stated.

The PIL stated that children are the future of the country and should be imparted education. It is the duty of the state to ensure that they are not asked to beg under any circumstances.

"The government has a responsibility to take care of destitute children, who either do not have parents or are forced by their elders to take to begging to earn a living," the PIL stated.

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