The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Maharashtra government to explain the steps taken to rehabilitate and reform beggars, including child alms seekers.
The court sought the state's response while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Pune resident Dhyandeshwar Darwatkar raising concerns over beggars not following social distancing norms or other rules like wearing face masks while approaching people on road at the time of COVID-19 pandemic.
The petitioner's counsel, Shekhar Jagtap, told the court that while the state and civic authorities had rescued some beggars and sent them to government-run homes, it was very likely that they might comeback on the streets once the lockdown norms were relaxed further.
A bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta said that one needed to take a holistic approach, and see what could be done to rehabilitate and reform beggars, particularly children involved in seeking alms.
The bench directed Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to present the state's arguments in the matter on the next hearing.
Earlier last month, during a previous hearing, the bench led by Chief Justice Datta had said it was "not right to blame only beggars" for the spread of coronavirus as even "civilised people did not follow rules of social distancing".