The instant plea was filed, praying that Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, which was incorporated to correct the historical injustice and indignity suffered by manual scavenging communities, should be implemented judiciously. Under this Act any form of engagement of manual scavenging work is a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. Petitioner sought that immediately the practice of allowing/forcing sanitary workers to physically handle the filth in all the areas of Karnataka should be stopped. The Government should use appropriate technological appliances for the cleaning of sewers and other spaces. This petition was filed by the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU). The council on behalf of the petitioner argued that absolutely no one had been convicted in cases of manual scavenging in Karnataka; it’s a well-known fact that most of the people who are forced into this practice belong to the SC/ST communities. It was also argued that this inhuman practice of manual scavenging has claimed many lives thus far.
This practice is a direct violation of a person’s right to live life with respect and dignity. It is a known fact that direct handling of human excreta causes severe health consequences. It was submitted that continued practice of manual scavenging is violative of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14,15,17,19,21 and 23, and also it is violative of certain directive principles as under Articles 38,39,46 and 47 of the Constitution of India. It was also highlighted that technology and mechanization has to be used for the incomplete underground drainages and large septic tanks being cleaned. The plea also noted that 41 people have died while indulging in the course of manual scavenging, and yet there is not a single conviction that took place with regards to these deaths. In light of which it was stated that there is hardly any implementation of the Act. Therefore it was finally submitted that there has been a complete failure on the part of the Government in the process of systematic identification of manual scavengers. Thus, interim relief was prayed for directing the respondents not to permit any person to practice manual scavenging in any form.