An attempt is also made to distinguish between the professional able bodied beggars and the diseased and handicapped beggars who have taken to beggary in the absence of a suitable avenue of employment.
The Criminal Procedure Code treats vagrants and vagabonds alike and provides penalties under sections 55(l)(b) and 109 (b). Beggary within railway premises was prohibited by law on Feb. 15, 1941.
Special Acts have been passed by most of the States to prohibit begging in public places. In others, the municipal and public acts provide measures against begging. To deal effectively with persons who kidnap children for the purpose of exploiting them for begging; the Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Act, 1959 was enacted.
This Act makes kidnapping or obtaining custody of a minor and for maiming of minors for the purpose begging specific offences and provides for deterrent punishment which may extend to life imprisonment where children are aimed.
There are institutions in the States for the custody, care and assistance of beggars in their rehabilitation. Eighteen certified institutions with a total capacity for 2.000 beggars exist in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
West Bengal has 8 Beggars homes with accommodation for 2013. There are seven similar institutions in Madras, in Kerala, and 3 in Delhi. There is a beggar’s home each in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Mysore.
A novel type of vagrant home-cum-training centre is in existence in New Delhi in which the inmates take part in the management of the home. Under the Central Care and After-Care Programme assistance is available for the setting up of beggar’s homes.