Supreme Court Asks Centre To Report Steps Taken To End Manual Scavenging In 6 Weeks
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to apprise it about the status of implementation of a 2013 law that prohibits manual scavenging and the steps taken to rehabilitated people falling within the definition of manual scavengers.
The top court has also sought state-wise details about the steps taken towards abolition of dry latrines, the status of dry latrines, and ‘safai karamcharis’ in cantonment boards and the railways.
A bench of justices S R Bhat and Dipankar Datta passed the order while hearing a petition seeking issuing of directions to implement provisions of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
In its order passed on February 22, the bench noted that the top court had the occasion to deal with the subject matter earlier and it had then dealt with the provisions of the 2013 Act and had issued several directions.
“… the respondent – Union shall place on record the steps taken pursuant to the judgment of this court, viz-a-viz the status of implementation of the 2013 Act i.e. Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act 2013, including the steps towards rehabilitation of such persons falling within the definition of ‘manual scavengers’,” the bench said.
It sought state-wise details about the equipment being used by municipal corporation to mechanise sewage cleaning.
The bench has sought details about the feasibility of developing internet-based solutions for real-time tracking of sewage deaths and action taken by authorities concerned towards payment of compensation and rehabilitation of families.
“The Union of India shall file an affidavit through the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The Union Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is directed to look into these aspects and place an affidavit on the record. These directions shall be complied with within six weeks,” the top court said.
The bench, which appointed advocate K Parameshwar as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, has posted the matter for further hearing on April 12.
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