CHENNAI: A social activist has moved the Madras High Court yet again, seeking a direction to the government to prevent sanitary workers from entering drains and septic tanks.
The first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, before which the PIL came up for hearing on Monday, ordered notice to the Chief Secretary, Municipal Administration Secretary, Chennai Metro Water and Chennai Corporation Commissioner, returnable by January 19 next.
According to Social activist A Narayanan, director of CHANGEIndia of Virugambakkam, the High Court on November 20, 2008 delivered a landmark judgment banning sanitary workers entering sewage manholes, septic tanks and storm water drains. By another order dated August 5, 2009, it constituted a 13-member special committee to ensure effective implementation of the court’s order. The petitioner also is a member of the committee. But the functioning of the committee was hampered from the beginning and it has become almost defunct now. Following a direction from the Supreme Court, the Parliament in November, 2013 enacted a new law called Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavangers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. Despite all these, the situation did not improve and manual scavanging continues, the petitioner contended.