Delhi HC issues notice to Centre on petition seeking compliance of Manual Scavengers Act

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By ANI

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court, on Thursday, August 5, 2021, issued notice to Centre on a petition seeking strict compliance of the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the application seeking impleading Union of India as a necessary party to the proceedings for proper adjudication of the petition.

The court asked the Centre to file a reply and listed for further hearing in mid-September.

The application filed by Advocate and social activist Amit Sahni came after the statement given by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale, in the Rajya Sabha.

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“That on July 27, 2021, during the 254th Session of the Rajya Sabha, the Hon’ble Minister of State for Social Justice and empowerment, Shri Ramdas Athawale (also ex-officio Chairperson of Central Monitoring Committee constituted under section 29 of the Act), while answering an unstarred question bearing no. 1017, asked by fellow MPs Mallikarjun Kharge and Dr L Hanumanthaia about the number of deaths caused due to manual scavenging during the last five years, stated that no such deaths have been reported due to manual scavenging,” read the application.

“The said answer 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,” said advocate Sahni.

Sahni said that such a 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 the public domain.

The application was filed in the ongoing petition seeking the intervention of the court for issuing directions to the respondents to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (referred to as an Act) to prevent loss of valuable lives of manual scavengers.

In the fresh application, advocate Sahni said that the record placed before the court is contrary to the statement given by the ministry.

“Therefore, the present application is being filed for early listing and impleading Union of India as a necessary party to the proceedings for proper adjudication of the Petition filed by the Petitioner. Kindly list the matter at the earliest,” the lawyer said.

Amit Sahni had sought appropriate directions from civic bodies to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, in order to prevent loss of lives because of manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. 



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