Delhi Social Welfare, Law and Justice Minister Mangat Ram Singhal on Tuesday inaugurated two mobile courts for the trial of beggars in Delhi and declared that the city would be made beggar-free before the beginning of the Commonwealth Games next year.
Mr. Singhal said the Delhi Government had also expedited the process of catching and rehabilitating beggars.
Stating that the mobile courts will work under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, the Minister pointed out that they have been started on a trial basis and the Delhi Government was in the process of setting up four similar courts in the days to come.
Mr. Singhal said a Special Metropolitan Magistrate and Probation Officers would be stationed in the courts to deliver quick judgment on the caught beggars. He said 12 vans were already operational in Delhi and engaged in the work of catching beggars. These vans produce the caught beggars before the Metropolitan Magistrate in Kingsway Camp from where they are sent to different Beggars’ Home.
At present, the Minister informed, 11 Beggars’ Home are being run by the Delhi Government and they have a combined capacity of lodging 2,200 beggars.
Pointing out that as per the Social Welfare Department there are an estimated 60,000 beggars in Delhi, Mr. Singhal said 30 per cent of them were below the age of 18 years. Besides, he said, 69.94 per cent of the beggars are males and 35.06 per cent are females.
The Minister said various welfare schemes have been started by the Delhi Government to prevent begging in Delhi. The Government was also in the process of preparing a database of beggars, which will enable the officials to ascertain how many times a beggar has been caught and how much punishment should be given to him.