The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought a detailed status report from the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), Delhi government and the Centre on steps being taken to rehabilitate children found begging on the streets in the national capital.
The division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said it wants results on the ground and action should be visible too. Chief Justice Sharma said he has completed two months in Delhi and witnessed the “same set of children” on the roads.
“We have to rehabilitate, relocate such children, send them to schools, give them proper food. You will just receive his (petitioner’s) representation, and pass a four-line order that ‘your grievance has been looked into, the government is working very hard on it’. We want results on the ground,” said the bench, while rejecting an argument that the petition before the court can be treated as a representation by the authorities.
In the petition filed last year, Ajay Gautam, a resident of Shahdara, said a “begging mafia” was actively behind the “menace of begging” and they “kidnap, train, force and torture innocent children for begging”. The authorities have failed to take any remedial steps despite child beggars being visible across Delhi, alleged the plea.
A counsel representing the DCPCR in response told the court that they are carrying out periodical checks and all steps are being taken to rehabilitate such children. The Delhi Police and Centre also assured the court that they will ensure compliance with the standard operating procedure with regard to the issue.
However, the court said a status report be filed on the action taken in each zone and granted eight weeks for it. It listed the case for hearing on December 2.
The petition pending before the court argued that Article 39(e) of the Constitution specifically provides that the state should ensure that the tender age of children is not abused and citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations “unsuited to their age or strength”.
“Although before the beginning of the Commonwealth Games in India in 2010, the government of Delhi had taken strict action in this regard, and beggars were not seen during the period of games, but as soon as these games culminated, the begging menace again became the same and till date is the same,” Gautam said in the plea.