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Is Begging A Crime ? Anti Begging Law

Is Begging A Crime ? Anti Begging Law

The Bombay Prevention Begging Act of 1959, Act tells us the answer to the question i.e., Is Begging A Crime? Begging is a crime, but there are some conditions to declare that, Who is a criminal under this act? And there are some questions to think like eg:- Under which circumstances and for what purpose that person was begging? Let us understand the clear answer to the question Is Begging A Crime ?

Why is this point, Is Begging a Crime? Anti Begging Law, is in the discussion?

• Instances of begging are found on roadsides, square squares, or near religious places

• Delhi High Court abolishes 25 sections of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959.

• This law declares begging as a crime There is no central law in the country so far in the context of begging, on the basis of this law, 20 states and 2 union territories have made their laws. According to sources, Anti begging laws exist in more than 22 states and 2 union territories.

Begging in India (Is Begging a Crime)

• The most common classification of begging is voluntary begging and involuntary begging. Begging done by people who are lazy and have weak willpower to work includes voluntary begging. Some tribal communities in India adopt beggary as a tradition for their livelihood. Due to poverty, disability, serious illness, etc., and in the clutches of begging rackets, those who adopt begging are involved in involuntary begging.

The Bombay Prevention Begging Act of 1959 has defined the term ‘BEGGING’ in section 2(i) of the Act as

1. Soliciting or receiving alms in a public place whether or not by singing, dancing, fortune-telling, performing, or offering any article for sale.

2. Entering any private premises for the purpose of soliciting alms that are given to a beggar.

3. Exposing any sore, wound, injury, deformity, or disease with the objective of obtaining food, clothes, or other things.

4. No visible means of subsistence and wandering about or remaining in any public place in such condition or manner, as it makes it likely that the person doing so exists soliciting or receiving alms.

In Delhi, numerous people were arrested during the commonwealth games 2010 under the provisions of the Anti-Begging Law. Anti Begging squads were instructed to raid numerous public places like temples, mosques, etc.

The Act provides for the detention of not only those who beg but also their dependents.

Section 11 of the Prevention of Begging Act 1959 penalizes the act of employing or using them for the purpose of begging. The Act elaborates in the aforesaid section that if any person employs or causes any other person to receive alms, shall be punished for imprisonment for a term up to three years but which shall not be less than one year.

Why do people enter into begging?

The main reason for people to beg is poverty when they are unable to fulfill the basic needs required for their survival. They are unable to procure jobs due to the lack of education, diseases/disability, old age which are some of the factors which compel them to beg for their survival.

Is Begging A Crime? If Yes Then, Punishment for Begging:-

Punishment may be anywhere between 1 to 3 years and the grounds on which the punishment is decided are

1. Age and character of the beggar

2. The circumstances in which the beggar was living.

3. Findings made by the probation officer.

Where a person is convicted for the second or subsequent time, he is to be detained for a period of ten years in a Certified Institution, or his sentence might even increase for a further two more years.

If a child under 5 years is found begging, it is forwarded to the juvenile Justice Tribunal.

The main provisions of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act

• The police administration has the power to arrest the person begging and send it to the Certified Institute. The definition of begging includes any person who sings, tells the future, dances, does any stuff begs with or without.

• Apart from this, having no visible means of livelihood and roaming here and there is a public place with the intention of begging is also included in begging. In this law, there is a provision to send it to the Certified Institute as a punishment for three years in the first time and up to ten years in the second time if caught doing the begging.

Is the anti-begging law curative in nature?

Beggars can be categorized into three categories: those who do not wish to work, those unable to work due to diseases/old age, and those who are at the mercy of a begging gang.

Detention without adequate systems for capacity building and rehabilitation only increases their vulnerability.


Implementation of the anti-begging act can prove to be a disguise to hide the failure of the state to remove poverty. During the anti-begging raids conducted by the police, any poor person who looks like a beggar is arrested.

Effect on the Family:-

When an only earning member of the family (who earns by begging) is arrested, then their children may be a drop out from school, which forces them to beg for survival.

Koshish – a ray of hope:-

1. Koshish is a field action process by TISS which works towards the rehabilitation of custodialised populations living as beggars.

2. Koshish runs community-based intervention in Bihar.

3. It works under the protection of legal rights for persons arrested under the beggary prevention law.

4. It also helps the released clients find employment,

What can be the remedies?

• There is a need to differentiate between voluntary begging and compulsive begging. A central law is needed on the basis of socio-economic analysis. The Persons in Destitution [Protection, Care, Rehabilitation] Model Bill, 2016 should be discussed further.

• Massive efforts need to be made for rehabilitation of the genuine beneficiaries in government schemes and the need for leak-proof delivery of services. Like the Chief Minister’s Beggary Prevention Scheme running in the state of Bihar, schemes need to be run in other states also. It is necessary to see the organized begging rackets linked with crimes like human trafficking and kidnapping.

Problems in the existing law

• This law has become a weapon against those who adopt begging due to poverty, serious illness, disability, etc.

• Problem with the definition of begging

• Punishment for making a person look poor is like punishment for begging.

Taking a poor and helpless person somewhere against his wish and preventing him from going to a public place is against the fundamental rights Under Article 14 and Article 19 of the Constitution of India, all persons have the right to equality and freedom respectively.

Can the right to beg to be read under Article 19(a):-

All citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression. Street vendors have the right to carry on their business as vendors because this right to earn a livelihood is guaranteed by the constitution of India under Article 19. Similarly, beggars also do have the right to earn their livelihood as beggars also do have the right to earn their livelihood as beggars also do have the right to earn their livelihood as beggars as there are no other means for them.

Example:- Bar dancers dance in the bar to earn a livelihood, and it is totally legal according to Article 19 of the Constitution. Then why begging is not legalized under Article 19 of the Constitution as the right to earn a livelihood? There have been many arguments in the Supreme Court regarding this question. But till now we have not got any result.

Conclusion for Is Begging A Crime? Anti Begging Law

The role of the State as the protector and guardian to its citizen underlines its responsibility to reach out to the destitute and understand their social, economic, and cultural condition. It is important to know that Begging has grown across the country by many folds, but as a citizen of this society believe that with the correct rehabilitation, reformation, and restoration of this evil we can overcome this problem of Beggary.

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