New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre, city government and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) to disclose the steps taken by them to rescue and rehabilitate children begging on the streets of the national capital.
Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, who was heading the division bench, said he has been in Delhi for the last two months and has been seeing the same set of children begging on the same streets daily, and made it clear that the court wanted results on the ground.
"I have completed two months in Delhi and I drive a car on my own and I see the same set of young children every day on the same roads. You are talking about results in one day. For the last two months, I am observing it," the chief justice said as the counsel for DCPCR said the authorities have been working round-the-clock and taking action and the petitioner wanted to see results in one day.
The high court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking eradication of begging by children here in which notices were earlier issued to the Centre, Delhi government and DCPCR.
The bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad, granted eight weeks to the authorities to disclose the steps taken by them zone wise in the entire Delhi to rescue and rehabilitate children found begging on the streets here.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on December 2.
Petitioner Ajay Gautam has sought directions to authorities to rehabilitate children who are beggars and to identify and arrest persons who are "pushing women using toddlers, teenage girls and small children into begging and... crime" and exploiting young girls.
He has alleged that in spite of the presence of beggars in every part of the city, the authorities have failed to take any remedial steps to curb the menace.
"Everyone knows that begging mafia is actively behind this menace of begging by the children and they in fact they kidnap, train, force and torture innocent children for begging," the petition stated.
The court was informed by the Centre, represented through standing counsel Monika Arora, and Delhi Police, represented through advocate Arun Panwar, that they will take appropriate steps in this regard and will ensure compliance of Standard Operating Procedure.
The DCPCR counsel submitted that they have been carrying out periodical checks and rescuing and rehabilitating children found begging on streets.
During the hearing, the bench said the paper work done by authorities is excellent but it wants to know what the ground situation is and what steps have been taken in this regard.
The plea said small children are deliberately harmed and injured to "get maximum sympathy of people".
"It has been commonly seen in winters that young girls hold toddlers without clothes to gain maximum sympathy. It is also not out of context to mention here that in many cases these gangs/mafias and young girls intentionally give sedatives to small children to gather sympathy of people risking lives of toddlers as young as 9-12 months", the petition said.
It contended that the Constitution mandates the State to make efforts to provide best opportunities for the development of children and ensure they are not abused.