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Municipality Heads Will Be Personally Liable If Any Manual Scavenging Activity Is Detected: Madras High Court

Aaratrika Bhaumik
9 Sep 2021 2:00 PM GMT
Municipality Heads Will Be Personally Liable If Any Manual Scavenging Activity Is Detected: Madras High Court
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In a bid to eradicate the evil of manual scavenging which has claimed several lives in the past, the Madras High Court on Wednesday observed that Municipality Heads will be personally liable in case any person is found to be indulging in manually cleaning the sewers.It also directed the heads of corporations and municipalities to file a written undertakings to the effect that no manual...

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In a bid to eradicate the evil of manual scavenging which has claimed several lives in the past, the Madras High Court on Wednesday observed that Municipality Heads will be personally liable in case any person is found to be indulging in manually cleaning the sewers.

It also directed the heads of corporations and municipalities to file a written undertakings to the effect that no manual scavenging work would be permitted to be undertaken within their jurisdiction.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu directed on Wednesday,

"All Commissioners of Municipal Corporations across the State and heads of the Municipalities should file written undertakings to the effect that no manual scavenging work would be permitted to be undertaken within the relevant corporation or municipality areas"

The Court added that it may ultimately pass an order directing that such an undertaking be furnished by any commissioner connected with a corporation or head of the municipality "when assuming office in future."

The direction was issued while adjudicating upon a batch of petitions including one by NGO Safai Karamchari Andolan seeking directions to end manual scavenging and ensure proper rehabilitation of victims of manual scavenging.

The Court further observed that heads of municipal bodies and commissioners of cooperations would be held personally liable if it is discovered that manual scavenging activities are taking place within their jurisdiction.

"It is heartening that no further death of any safai karmachari is reported. There cannot be any manual scavenging at all and it will continue to be the responsibility of all municipal bodies and Corporations across the State to ensure that there is no manual scavenging activity undertaken. The Commissioners of the Corporations and the heads of the Municipalities, as indicated in previous orders, will be personally held liable in case any manual scavenging activity is detected or any mishap occurs in course thereof", the Court opined.

The State was also directed to obtain appropriate machines or improve the sewer lines in order to ensure that no manual scavenging is necessary anywhere in the State. It will also be the responsibility of the heads of Corporations and of Municipalities to ensure that no private person also indulges in any manual scavenging activity or engages any other in such regard, the Court ordered further.

The matter is slated to be heard next on November 10. The State was ordered to issue critical guidelines in this regard before the next date of hearing.

Case Title: Safai Karamchari Andolan and Others v. Union of India and Others

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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