Begging & Smoking in Trains to be decriminalized by railways soon

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Begging & Smoking in Trains to be decriminalized by railways soon

Beggars and Smokers are no criminals now

Tuesday, 8th September 2020

The Indian Railway Ministry has recently submitted a proposal in which the wish to decriminalize begging in the stations or on trains has been expressed. The need to rationalize the punishments under the 1989 Railway Act has led to such a proposal. The ministry further aims at making smoking a significantly compoundable breach of regulations and for that reason plans to levy an on-spot fine and also plans to drop the charges against the one who has committed the offence.


A report published in The Hindu points out that the Railways might go ahead with the amendment of Section 144 (2) of the Railway Act which makes ‘begging’ a punishable offence with punishments like Rs 2000 as fine or imprisonment. The amendment of this section will point that there’ll be no permission for begging in the railway carriages or on any of the properties belonging to the Railways, without the rule of imposing a penalty for the same.


For smoking, Section 167 of the Railway Act is likely to be amended. It points out that no one will be allowed to smoke in the compartment of a train if a co-passenger objects to it. The railway administrative body may prohibit any type of smoking in the trains and anyone who breaks the rule may be charged a maximum of Rs 100 as fine.


ThePrint presented a railway official’s opinion in this context. He has made the statement that the Act wasn’t being applied and it was always wise to get rid of such punitive provisions as it was definitely an "inhuman law", to criminalise the beggars who are compelled by situation to beg.


Reportedly, these proposals are but a part of the attempt made by the Centre to make some amendment in the redundant or rather outdated laws for reducing the judiciary’s burden. The Railway Board is open to suggestions on these proposed amendments.


As per the reports of Hindustan Times, in the month of June, the Indian Railways had decided to drop the imprisonment rules for various minor offences such as travelling by train without tickets as well riding on the footboards. The offenders would be subject to punishment with penalties only.



Source: News 18

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