Manual scavenging a prima facie violation of human rights: Madras HC
By Express News Service | Published: 15th July 2017 07:20 PM |
CHENNAI: Asserting that manual scavenging is prima facie a human rights violation and that it infringed upon the right to live with dignity as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, the Madras High Court has directed the Centre and the State Government to ensure that there is no engagement of manual scavengers in contravention of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
The first Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar issued the directive while entertaining a PIL from Safai Karmachari Andolan. Section 7 of the Act prohibited persons from being engaged or employed for hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. It was true that those engaging manual scavengers in contravention of Sections 5, 6, and 7 of the Act rendered themselves liable to be punished under sections 8 and 9 of the Act. The authorities should take immediate steps to ensure that there was no contravention of Sections 5, 6, and 7, the Bench said.
The petitioner contended that a survey showed the prevalence of the practice even now. The Act remained only on paper, he said and prayed for a directive to the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Employment and the TN government to restrain themselves from engaging directly or indirectly manual scavengers. The matter has been adjourned till August 21.