Implement Laws to Root out Manual Scavenging: SC to States
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked all State governments and Union Territories to fully implement the legislation to eradicate manual scavenging and take action against violators and issued directions to educate, employ and rehabilitate the affected people.
A Bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N V Ramana also directed them to take appropriate action against non-implementation as well as violation of the provisions contained in the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
The court issued a slew of directions such as to provide financial assistance to those included in the final list of manual scavengers under the provisions of the Act and to give their children scholarship as per the relevant scheme of the Central or the State government or the local authorities, as the case may be.
The people who were employed as scavengers will be allotted residential plots, ready-built houses or financial assistance in constructing their houses according to their eligibility and willingness, the Bench said.
“At least one member of their family, shall be given, subject to eligibility and willingness, training in livelihood skill and shall be paid a monthly stipend during the period,” the Bench said, adding that an adult member of the family would be given subsidy or concessional loan for taking up an alternative occupation.
The court noted that the practice of manually removing night soil in the absence of protective gear and equipment, brooms or metal scrappers, carrying excrements and baskets to dumping sites for disposal is a practice that is still prevalent in many parts of the country.
The Bench, which voiced preventing future generations from the inhuman practice of manual scavenging, also laid down guidelines for rehabilitation.
It said that entering sewer lines without safety gears should be made a crime even in emergency situations and for each such death, a compensation of `10 lakhs be given to the family of the deceased.
In December, 2003, the Safai Karamchari Andolan along with six other organisations and seven individuals belonging to the community of manual scavengers had filed the PIL on the grounds that the continuation of the practice of manual scavenging as well as of dry latrines is “illegal and unconstitutional”.