The Prohibition of Work as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act 2013 prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, and the Supreme Court has ordered the Union of India to document the measures it has taken to do so.
The Court has further mandated the Center to inform about steps taken towards the abolition of dry latrines, the status of dry latrines and safai karmachari in cantonment zone and railways, employment of safai karmachari in railways and cantonment zone, statewide set-up of Municipal Corporation, real-time tracking of sewage death with the help of internet etc.
These instructions were given during a PIL hearing that was attended by Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta. The PIL was submitted by Dr. Balram Singh.
In the Safai Karamchari Andolan decision, the Court laid out a plethora of recommendations for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, including casha assistance, scholarships for their kids, the distribution of residential lots, training in livelihood skills and monthly stipends, preferential loans, etc. The judgment also ordered the Railways to stop manual track scavenging and set a minimum amount of compensation in situations of sewage deaths.
Within six weeks, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment must provide an affidavit including details on these matters. The subject will be discussed again on April 12, 2023. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, and the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis has also been named as respondents by the court.
Delhi Government received directions from the Delhi High court while disposing of a Public interest litigation to ensure strict compliance in regard to the statutory provisions in Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 Act, and the Rules framed.
The Bench also directed the government to be mindful of multiple recommendations submitted by the Delhi Commission for SafaiKaramcharis (DCSK) and to take a decision within 60 days of any such recommendation being made.
The petition apart from asking for compliance with the law also skeed health insurance and medical facilities for sanitation workers and their families.
In response to this the National Commission for SafaiKaramcharis and the Central Government stated that the Commission had directed all the District Magistrates or District Commissioners to furnish details of all safaikaramcharis who have lost their lives due to COVID. Apart from this the court was also informed about the safety and safeguarding measures and details about the training of the safaikaramcharis. It also mentioned about the vaccination and the residential facilities of the workers.
The court was given information that the provisions are being followed and the compensation money is being paid along with the adequate equipment being given to the workers
The court observed that the Delhi Government “does not have any other choice” except to implement the statutory provisions as contained under the 2013 Act and relevant rules
Disposing the PIL the court said,”In light of the aforesaid, no further orders are required to be passed in the present PIL. The same stands disposed of accordingly,”
Case: HARNAM SINGH v. GOVERNMENT OF NCT OF DELHI & ORS.
Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act,2013.