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Delhi High Court Seeks Centre's Response In Plea Seeking Strict Compliance Of Manual Scavenging Law

Nupur Thapliyal
5 Aug 2021 7:15 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Seeks Centres Response In Plea Seeking Strict Compliance Of Manual Scavenging Law
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The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre in a PIL seeking strict compliance of Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in order to prevent loss of lives due to manual cleaning of septic tanks and sewers. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the application filed by the petitioner...

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre in a PIL seeking strict compliance of Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in order to prevent loss of lives due to manual cleaning of septic tanks and sewers.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the application filed by the petitioner seeking impleadment of Union of India as a party and directed the Centre to file a counter affidavit. The matter will now be heard on September 17.

Filed by Advocate Amit Sahni, the application was moved in a 2019 PIL pending for adjudication before the Court. According to the application, reliance was made on the recent statement of Mr. Ramdas Athawale, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, during the 254th Rajya Sabha Session on 28th July, 2021 stating that no deaths have been reported due to manual scavenging in the last five years.

The statement relates to a written response of an unstarred question asked by Mallikarjun Kharge and Dr L Hanumanthaia.

"That the said answer given before the Upper House of the Parliament is not only false and misleading but shows utter insensitivity and apathy towards the departed souls of the manual scavengers, their family members and also towards the group of people who are still into manual scavenging. Such statement from the ex-officio chairperson of the Central Committee constituted under the Act further makes it evident that the Government has indulged in deliberate misstatement and distortion of facts to applaud itself contrary to the record available in public domain." the plea reads.

The application further states that the Centre becomes answerable to the Court as it has established State Channelling Agencies (SCAs) in different States and UTs to monitor the issue of manual scavenging and still "utterly failed to control the same".

The application therefore states that instead of lowering down the death rates, they are rather shooting up, meaning thereby that the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, are not being followed strictly.

"That in view of the aforesaid statement made before the upper house of the Parliament, the petitioner has serious apprehensions that the Central Committee (constituted under the Act) headed by the Union Minister has failed to achieve its purpose." The application reads.

Earlier, the Court had issued notice on the main petition to the three respondents including Department of Social Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Delhi Jal Board under the Government of NCT of Delhi.

Title: AMIT SAHNI v. GOVT. OF NCT OF DELHI & ORS

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