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SC Asks Centre to Provide Details of Steps Taken to End Manual Scavenging

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is expected to file an affidavit within the next six weeks.
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Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Union of India to place on record the steps it has taken to prevent the employment of manual scavengers in accordance with the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act 2013.

The LiveLaw reported that the apex court directed the Centre to inform the former of the steps taken in pursuance of the guidelines issued in its 2014 judgement.

In the judgement, known as the Safai Karamchari Andolan judgement, the apex court has issued a slew of guidelines for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, including cash assistance, scholarships for their children, allotment of residential plots, training in livelihood skills and monthly stipends, concessional loans etc, reported LiveLaw. The judgment had also prescribed the minimum compensation in cases of sewer deaths and directed railways to stop manual scavenging on tracks.

The legal news portal reported that the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is expected to file an affidavit with information on these issues within the next six weeks.

The affidavit must contain the details of steps taken by the government to ensure the abolition or demolition of dry latrines state-wise, the status of dry latrines and safai karmacharis in cantonment boards and railways, the status and nature of their employment (whether directly or through a contractor), the nature of the equipment used by municipal corporations to mechanise sewage cleaning, and the feasibility of internet-based solution for real-time tracking of sewage deaths and action taken by concerned authorities.

A bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhar and Dipankar Datta issued the direction on Wednesday while hearing a PIL filed by one Dr Balram Singh.

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