A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the Kerala State Legal Services Authority to visit the Palluruthy and Fort Kochi relief settlement centres and report about their conditions to the court.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A.M.Shaffique asked KELSA to file a report within four weeks.

The directives came on a petition filed by P.J. Peter seeking directives to the corporation to prevent begging, particularly child begging, in the corporation area.

The corporation submitted that proper care had been taken to see that separate spaces were allocated for men, women, patients with contagious diseases and neglected and orphaned children.

The petitioner pointed out that child beggars were seen on Kochi streets despite the fact that it had been banned. There was a mafia involved in running the begging network. The petitioner also said that the condition of the children sent to the relief settlement was very pathetic. There were many shortcomings in the running of the settlement centre. It lacked manpower and medical facilities. The children rescued from the streets were often forced to stay with persons with various ailments such as mental disabilities. This posed a threat to the future of the children.

The petitioner said the corporation was also dumping waste such as broken tar bins on the premises of the settlement centres, posing a health hazard to the inmates.

The petitioner sought a directive to take urgent steps to create facilities for the rescue and rehabilitation of child beggars.

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