Topic– Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
1) The court can strike down an unfair law but it cannot reform the society. Comment in the light of the recent Delhi HC judgement decriminalising begging.(250 words)
Why this question
Begging is currently banned in around 20 states of India but at the same time it is a fact of life that we witness everyday on the streets of India. The legislation dealing with begging is a colonial legacy that was recently deemed as unconstitutional by the Delhi HC and hence it is important to discuss the judgment.
Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to express our opinion for or against the judgement and present our opinion on whether the anti begging laws in India are unfair or not and why courts can’t reform the society even though it may strike down the law.
Structure of the answer
Introduction- write a few lines about the anti begging legislation in India, its relationship with colonialism etc.
- Discuss how the anti-begging law in India is unfair. E.g It gives the police the power to arrest individuals without a warrant. It gives magistrates the power to commit them to a “certified institution” for up to three years on the commission of the first “offence”, and up to 10 years upon the second “offence”. The Act also authorises the detention of people “dependant” upon the “beggar” (read: family), and the separation of children over the age of five. Certified institutions have absolute power over detainees, including the power of punishment, and the power to exact “manual work”. Disobeying the rules of the institution can land an individual in jail. Vague definition of begging etc
- Discuss the Delhi HC judgement in detail- and bring out the significance of the ruling.
- Discuss the limitations in terms of how other states will handle the issue and discuss the imperative of the state to provide the basic necessities of life and a decent quality of living to its people, need for socio-economic development of India’s marginal sections etc.
Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.