Won’t Take Elitist View, Poverty Forces to Beg, Says SC on Plea to Ban Begging at Public Places Amid Covid-19

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The Supreme Court sought the responses of the Centre and the Delhi government on Tuesday as it turned down a petition to restrain begging at traffic lights, markets and public places in light of the precautionary measures for the Covid-19 pandemic. The apex court, which made it clear that it would not take an “elitist view” that no beggars should be allowed on the streets as this is a socio-economic problem, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to assist it in the matter.

A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah observed that people are generally compelled to beg on the streets to eke out some elementary livelihood due to the absence of education and employment hence they cannot be chased away from traffic junctions and public places. “As the Supreme Court, we would not want to take an elitist view that no beggars should be there on the streets,” the bench said.

The top court issued notices to the Centre and the Delhi government, seeking their responses within two weeks on the prayer made in the petition for rehabilitation of beggars and vagabonds, their vaccination and providing them with shelter and food amid the pandemic.

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