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Manual scavenging: Allahabad High Court seeks reply from UP Govt, Prayagraj corporation

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava-I passed this order while hearing a PIL filed by Anupriya Yadav And 7 Others.

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The Allahabad High Court on Thursday sought a reply from the Uttar Pradesh Government and the Municipal Corporation of Prayagraj on a PIL filed for the safety and rehabilitation of sanitary workers who do manual work in sewers.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava-I passed this order while hearing a PIL filed by Anupriya Yadav And 7 Others.

The petitioners, all students of law at various law institutes in the country, have raised important points on the implementation of the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

Before approaching the court, the petitioners undertook a study of the conditions for scavenging in Prayagraj and other areas of Uttar Pradesh.

According to the survey of the petitioners, no adequate safety equipment are provided to scavengers and they are still working manually which is otherwise prohibited under the Act of 2013.

The petitioners have made the following recommendations :-

• Technological intervention, like suction machines, should be made available to prevent manual scavenging.

• Training of local bodies or sanitation inspectors about the Act, safety procedure, technical knowhow of cleaning devices, should be imparted effectively.

• Proper awareness programme regarding the MS Act 2013 and its effective implementation on ground should also be made priority, and sensitization for the authorities should be done.

• Monitoring authorities to ensure compensation for families and penalizing the implementation agencies in fault.

• Comprehensive rehabilitation of families should be provided. One adult family member of the deceased should be given adequate skill training and an opportunity for employment.

• Allotment of the due amount of scholarship and effective implementation of a scheme for the children whose parent/s are engaged in occupation involving cleaning and prone to
health hazards.

• Appropriate infliction of penalty on those involved in the offence of employing people for the dehumanizing practice of
manual scavenging.

• Adequate budget allocation for the implementation of the Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) should be the urgent need of the authority as the budget has reduced drastically over the years.

• Regulation of sanitation work is needed for – enumeration of sanitation workers, empanelment of private service providers, adoption of standard operating procedures, mechanization of sanitation work, and setting up an Emergency Response Sanitation Unit.”

It is argued before Court that whatever recommendations are made by the Petitioners are in consonance to the provisions of the Act, 2013 that was enacted to ensure a dignified life to the lowest rung of social hierarchy. It is asserted that the practice of manual scavenging is an assault on human dignity and needs abolishing.

Read Also: Supreme Court dismisses plea of Sushant Singh sister challenging Bombay HC order against her

Having considered all relevant facts of the case, the Court deems it appropriate to call upon Uttar Pradesh, Nagar Nigam, Prayagraj and Jal Nigam, Prayagraj to respond to the contents of the petition for writ at earliest.

The Court has fixed the next date of hearing on April 12, 2021 and the respondents have been directed to positively file the response to the Petition for writ on or before April 09, 2021.

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