STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur on Tuesday directed State to construct adequate number of beggars’ homes, children home and sick home within a period of six months from the date of receipt of copy of this order. It is also made clear that if the process initiated is not implemented within a period of six months, as directed above, it is well open to the petitioner to approach this Court for appropriate directions and in that event this Court will be constrained to take serious view against the officers responsible for the delay.
The judgment came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate Parimoksh Seth seeking directions to the respondents to implement the provisions of the Prevention of Beggary Act, 1960 and Prevention of Beggary Rules in the State of J and K and to stop the menace of begging especially organised begging in the State.
The Division Bench observed that in the status report filed by the Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Social Welfare Department, it has been stated that draft notification for extending the Act to whole of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been prepared and sent to the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for vetting. A meeting was convened in the Social Welfare Department on 9th May, 2014 under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Social Welfare Department, which was attended by representatives of Home, Health and Medical Education Departments and a number of decisions were taken in the said meeting. For implementing the said proposals and decisions taken, a sum of Rs. 84.24 lakh in the first instance is required in the two capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu for hiring the buildings for beggars’ home and children home. The department has taken up the matter with the Finance Department on 29th May 2014 and the concurrence of the Finance Department is awaited. The two provincial directors of the Social Welfare Department were directed to identify the land and prepare DPRs for construction of beggars’ home and children home in two capital cities for accommodating at least 50 inmates on a minimum need basis. As and when the DPRs are received from the Directors of Social Welfare Department the same shall be vetted from the Joint Development Commissioner (Works) and thereafter a comprehensive proposal shall be submitted to the Planning and Development Department and the Finance Department for providing funds. Insofar as the construction to sick home is concerned, the Social Welfare Department has requested the Health and Medical Education Department to intimate whether they have the necessary infrastructure in place for housing of persons suffering from leprosy or other infectious/contagious disease. The whole process of construction of different kinds of home for the beggars is dependent on the details of the survey to be conducted by the Director General of Police and only on completion of the said survey the number of homes, their intake capacity and locations in the State will have to be determined.
Division Bench further directed that it is made clear that financial constraint cannot be stated as reason to delay the project and decisions already taken. For effecting implementation of the Act and the Rules, construction of Beggars’ home, children home and sick home are mandatory. A person found begging can be detained in sick home/children home/beggars’ home, as the case may be, for a period of not less than one year and not more than three years in the case of first offence as per Section 5(5) of the Act. If a person is convicted for the second time, he can be detained for not less than seven years as per Section 6 (2). For detaining the persons found begging on conviction the government must provide home failing which the Act and Rules will remain in paper without any scope of implementation. JNF
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