CHILD Protection & Child Rights » V. State Mechanisms » Notable State Policies, Programmes and Legislations » Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959
The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 criminalizes begging. Its aim is to remove beggars from their current illegal profession so that they may be detained, trained and eventually employed elsewhere. The act was adopted by the Union Territory of Delhi in 1960. It is considered a violation of rights amongst activists and advocates of homeless people. Following is an overview of provisions in the act that are relevant to children ages 0-18.
Under this act, a child is defined as a boy who has not completed 16 years of age and a girl who has not completed 18 years of age. According to this act beggars found guilty by a court of law were sentence to a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years in Beggar's Home (Certified institution). The detainment is for not just for the beggar but also the beggar's dependents, unless the dependent is a child. The child will be sent to courts under the Children Act 1960 to be handled as per the provisions of that law. In the case the child is found to be guilty of begging and is below the age of five, he/she is forwarded to the courts under the Children Act, 1960, unless the child is below the age of five and has a mother who is being detained and can take care of him/her.
Under the provisions of this act a person who solicited or exploited a child to beg for alms, can be sent to prison for a minimum of one year and maximum of three years. A person who can be proven to have on multiple occasions not complied with the rules of the certified institution could spend a period of his/her detainment in prison. The act also has provisions that allow officers to detain people because they are leprosy patients or lunatics.
This law has not been amended to meet the new provisions for children under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The Human Rights Law Network admonishes the law for being "archaic and colonial with racist undertones and was enacted to clear the poor away from upper class areas."
To download the full text of the act and the rules click here: Bombay Begging Act