On Thursday, the Allahabad High Court has directed the State government to file its response to a petition filed by law students seeking implementation of the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in the State of Uttar Pradesh.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava-I perused the recommendation made in the plea and called upon State of Uttar Pradesh, Nagar Nigam, Prayagraj and Jal Nigam, Prayagraj to furnish its response to the contents of the petition for a writ at the earliest.
“Having considered all relevant facts of the case, we deem it appropriate to call upon State of Uttar Pradesh, Nagar Nigam, Prayagraj and Jal Nigam, Prayagraj to respond the contents of the petition for a writ at earliest. Let this petition for writ be listed on 12th April 2021. The respondents shall positively file the response to the petition for the writ on or before 9th April 2021 after supplying a copy of the same to either petitioner no. 1 or 2 at the address given,” stated the order.
The petitioners had conducted a detailed study on the issue of manual scavenging in the city of Prayagraj and other adjoining areas. The study found that no adequate safety equipment was provided to persons who are still undertaking manual scavenging, which is prohibited under the 2013 Act.
On the basis of the findings of their study, the petitioners 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 know-how of cleaning devices, should be imparted effectively.
- Proper awareness programs regarding the MS Act 2013 and its effective implementation on the ground should also be made a priority, and sensitization for the authorities should be done.
- Monitoring authorities to ensure compensation for the families and penalizing the implementation agencies at fault.
- Comprehensive rehabilitation of the 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 the scheme for children whose parent/s are engaged in occupations involving cleaning.
- Appropriate infliction of penalty on those involved in the offense of employing people for the de-humanizing practice of manual scavenging.
- Adequate budget allocation for the implementation of the Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS).
- Regulation of sanitation work is needed for the enumeration of sanitation workers, empanelment of private service providers, the adoption of standard operating procedures, the mechanization of sanitation work, and the setting up an Emergency Response Sanitation Unit.
The matter has been scheduled for the next hearing on April 12.