NEW DELHI: Rapping government agencies for trying to block benefits intended for manual scavengers, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to accept submissions that there were no manual scavengers in Delhi despite the existence of unsanitary lavatories not linked to sewerage.
A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva expressed its displeasure that not many manual scavengers have come forward to draw benefits to which they are entitled.
"There is a great contradiction in the submission that although admittedly a large number of insanitary latrines exist in Delhi. But as per the affidavit filed by the East Delhi Municipal Commission and the submissions of other agencies, there are no manual scavengers in Delhi," the court said.
It added: "It seems they (agencies) are trying to block the benefit given to them. As per the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act of 2013, manual scavengers have to be rehabilitated."
The court said most of the directions given by it in this regard have not been complied with.
"The Delhi government counsel has assured the court that the directions given in the matter will be duly complied with within two weeks," it said.
The court also asked the Delhi Jal Board, Northern Railways and Delhi Cantonment Board to file their affidavits in the case.
It also asked the DJB to submit a plan of action to connect the unsanitary lavatories in the city with sewerage.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking rehabilitation of manual scavengers.