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Manual Scavenging: Karnataka High Court Grants State Govt. 30 Days For Formulating Uniform Scheme For Grant Of Scholarship To Children Of Deceased

Mustafa Plumber
4 Oct 2021 2:35 PM GMT
Manual Scavenging: Karnataka High Court Grants State Govt. 30 Days For Formulating Uniform Scheme For Grant Of Scholarship To Children Of Deceased
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The court also directed the state government to complete within two months the survey for identifying and rehabilitating manual scavengers.

The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State Government to formulate within 30 days a uniform scheme in regards to the grant of scholarships to children and in terms of providing compassionate appointment to legal heirs of deceased, under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish...

The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State Government to formulate within 30 days a uniform scheme in regards to the grant of scholarships to children and in terms of providing compassionate appointment to legal heirs of deceased, under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum said "The scholarship under the Act of 2013, certainly means that state government is conferred with an obligation to pay scholarship, to the children of the deceased, as it is paid by Central and State government in respect of any other schemes. The disparity in paying scholarship has to come to end and uniform policy has to be made in respect of the point of scholarship to be paid in all such cases. Therefore, the state government is granted 30 day's time to formulate a scheme in terms of the Act of 2013 in the matter of grant of scholarship, as well as in matters of compassionate appointment."

Section 13 of the Act reads thus:

Rehabilitation of persons identified as manual scavengers by a Municipality.

(b) his children shall be entitled to scholarship as per the relevant scheme of the Central Government or the State Government or the local authorities, as the case may be.

It was pointed out to the court by the counsel for petitioner All India Central Council Of Trade Unions that in the compliance report submitted by the state government under the head of scholarship, an amount of Rs 1,000 is mentioned. It was also informed that in some cases Rs 10,000 has been given. However, it is not clear whether the amount is paid monthly or yearly or as a one time measure.

To which the court said, "This court really fails to understand if an amount of Rs 1000 lump sum is paid for a child studying, whether it falls within the meaning of scholarship. If it is a grant of lump sum of Rs 1000, then it means that order passed by the state government is an eyewash." It added, "Again that Rs 10,000, is per year or per month, or a one-time measure is not clear."

The court also directed the state government to complete within two months the survey for identifying and rehabilitating manual scavengers.

Further, in respect of the Ramanagara incident which took place on June 4, 2021, wherein three persons have died, the court directed the state government to provide the family of the deceased with employment within a period of thirty days, keeping in view the Act of 2013.

In respect to the Kalaburagi incident of January 28, 2021, in which two persons had died while allegedly being made to do manual scavenging. The court noted that legal heirs of the deceased have been granted causal appointment. It said, "The grant of casual appointments can come to an end anytime. Section 13 of the Act is very clear, it provides that legal heirs shall be given training for some alternative profession/vocation. The same has not been done in the present case. Let the same be done positively within 30 days."

Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari, appearing in a connected matter, informed the court about the non-compliance of a previous direction of the court in respect of the availability of safety equipment with local bodies. The court in its order dated August 30 had said, "The State Government shall also file a detailed chart in respect of the equipments which are provided under the Rules of 2013, their availability in the local bodies and the chart shall also include the reason if the equipments are not available in the local bodies as it is mandatory for the local bodies to possess the necessary equipment as provided under the Act of 2013 and Rules of 2013."

Rule 3, framed under the Act, provides for obligations of the employer towards employees engaged in the cleaning of sewer or septic tank and provision of safety equipment.

Accordingly, the court said, "On the last date of hearing, this court had directed the state government to file a detailed chart in respect of equipment available with the corporations in terms of the Act of 2013. However, the same is not done. The state government is granted 30 days-time to file a detailed chart in respect of equipment made available keeping in view the Act of 2013, read with rules framed thereunder."

The matter will be next heard on November 26.

Case Title: All India Central Council Trade Unions And Union Of India

Case No: WP 8928/2020


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