NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that a Bill to ban manual scavenging would be introduced soon in Parliament.
Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval told a Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia, Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar that he had been told that the Bill would be introduced in Parliament in the coming monsoon session. “We are committed to eliminating manual scavenging. Wait till the monsoon session,” Raval told the Bench.
Significantly, the move by the Centre comes nearly a decade after a PIL filed in the apex court said that over five lakh people were engaged in manual scavenging across the country.
Counsels for NGO Safai Karamchari Andolan, K Parameshwar and Shomona Khanna, submitted in the court that the petition filed in 2003 revealed that there were 5,77,228 manual scavengers in the country.
The NGO further averred that in the last nine years several orders were passed by the apex court, but the implementation has not been proper and that the Uttarakhand Government had failed to respond to the contempt notice issued in 2009. However, the Uttarakhand counsel claimed that the state had complied with the directions issued by the apex court. Nonetheless, the Bench held that the state would have to file a reply to the contempt notice, issued for the alleged violation of the existing law.