Karnataka HC Chastises State Govt For Failing to Implement Manual Scavengers Act

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The court gave the government a final opportunity to file an affidavit compliance and has listed the matter for February 10.

New Delhi: The Karnataka high court on Tuesday, February 2, chastised the state government for failing to implement provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (Manual Scavengers Act) in spite of the court’s directions.

Bar and Bench has reported that the high court had issued several directions in December 2020, noting that the practice of manual scavenging is inhuman.

The 1993 law banning manual scavenging in India was amended in 2013, providing for punishment for engaging any person for hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. A third amendment is on the anvil.

However, the practice is rampant across India, as are deaths that result from it. Multiple analyses on The Wire and its award-winning series #Grit, attempt to hold up a picture of the practice which is overwhelmingly casteist.

Hearing petitions that sought the abolition of the Manual Scavengers Act, a bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Vishwajith Shetty said that the government had neglected to comply with the court’s directions.

The court gave the government a final opportunity to file an affidavit compliance and has listed the matter for February 10.

In a recent article on The Wire, Shiva Shankar and Kanthi Swaroop had written that enacted laws have persistently failed to come to the aid of those pushed generationally into the profession due to a host of reasons, primary among which is government apathy in arriving at foolproof figures.

Credit: The Wire

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