Chandigarh, January 12: Child right protection commission of Punjab today issued instructions to all the district child rights protection officers for the strict compliance of the Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971 so that inhuman act of begging could be eradicated from the state.
Disclosing this here a spokesperson of Child right protection commission Punjab said that Mr. K S Pannu, Secretary Child Rights Commission Punjab has written demi official letter to all the district child rights protection officers in this regard. He said that all concerned district Child right protection officers are directed to made their supervisory area free from child begging.
He further said that Punjab State had enacted “The Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971.” This Act mandates that no begging shall take place in the State. Various provisions have been made in this Act to contain the problem of begging. This Act has clear provision related to child begging. Section 9 of said Act, reads as under “that whoever employs or causes, any person to solicit or receive alms, or whoever, having the custody, charge, care of child, connives at or encourages the employment or the causing of a child to solicit or receive alms or whoever uses another person as an exhibit for the purposes of begging, shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years but which shall not be less than one year.”
In the meanwhile, another law enacted by Govt. of India in 2015 called “The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJAct) also mandates against child begging. Section 2(14)(ii) defines the child beggars as children in need of care and protection. “who is found working in contravention of labour laws for the time being in force or is found begging, or living on the street”
The child beggars are to be rescued and rehabilitated as per provision of Section 29(1) of the said Act, as per details given below: –
29(1) “Child Welfare Committee, having magistrate powers, is authorized to decide the cases regarding the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection.
If a child who is found begging, is rescued, is to be produced before the Child Welfare Committee and Child welfare Committee has to decide whether the child is to be handed over to the family or be admitted to the Child Care Institution.”
Child Care Institutions in the State of Punjab are taking care of the children in need of care and protection. This Act provide for punishment to those who employ or use any child for begging as per detail given below:-
“76 (1) Whoever employs or uses any child for the purpose of begging or causes any child to beg shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine of one lakh rupees:
Provided that, if for the purpose of begging, the person amputates or maims the child, he shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than seven years which may extend up to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine of five lakh rupees.
Whoever, having the actual charge of, or control over the child, abets the commission of an offence under sub-section (1), shall be punishable with the same punishment as provided for in sub-section (1) and such person shall be considered to be unfit under sub-clause (v) of clause (14) of section 2:
Provided that the said child, shall not be considered a child in conflict with law under any circumstances, and shall be removed from the charge or control of such guardian or custodian and produced before the Committee for appropriate rehabilitation.”
Despite the stringent penal provisions in place, child begging is continuing unabatedly in the State.
To wean away children from the practice of begging and for their rehabilitation Commission advised all its officers to constitute by District Administration including the officers of District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), to rescue child beggars. Rescued child beggars be produced before Child Welfare Committee for taking further necessary action as per the law.