After coming across a video showing manual scavenging being continued to be carried out by men, an advocate seeks a strict ban on the practice which was declared to be illegal in the year 1993.
Advocate Amit Sahni moved the Delhi High Court in after watching a video posted on Facebook by a MLA from Sultanpur Majra Constituency of Delhi. The said video depicted men engaged as manual scavengers cleaning a sewer in the Shakurpur Vidhan Sabha area, New Delhi. Appearing to be employed by the Government Public Works Department, they can be seen without any safety gear or equipment.
Sahni was asked to share the CDs of the video with the Public Works Department, Delhi Jal Board and the Social Welfare Department by the bench led by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, who were all to be considered as respondents in the case.
Sahni was moved by the video and expressed dismay in the failure of the government to implement the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 effectively, despite the death of several manual scavengers due to the hazardous nature of the work coming to light in the past year; and the Government of Delhi imposing a complete ban on any person entering the gutter or sewer to clean it.
According to him, the loopholes in the Act prohibiting manual scavenging allow the government to give out the work related to sewer cleaning to private contractors, who then engage manual scavengers for cleaning of these sewers, thus effectively defeating the purpose of the Act.
The date for his petition is April 26th, where it will be examined with another similar petition, which claims that one person dies every five minutes working in these hazardous conditions, and seeks for deaths due to manual scavenging to be booked against contractors for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.