Delhi High Court today said it was surprising that various government bodies have maintained that no manual scavengers were there in the national capital but admittedly a large number of insanitary latrines exists here.
“It is surprising that although admittedly a large number of insanitary latrines exist in Delhi but as per the affidavit filed by the EDMC (East Delhi Municipal Commission) and the submissions of other agencies, there are no manual scavengers in Delhi,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said.
The bench expressed its displeasure over it and said that the civic bodies would have to respond to a number of issues concerning the matter.
“What is happening? You have to respond to various things. It appears to us that they (government agencies) are trying to block the people from getting benefits which they are entitled to. As per the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act of 2013, manual scavengers have to be rehabilitated,” the bench said.
The bench also observed that most of the directions given by it have not been complied with by various agencies.
“The counsel for Delhi government has assured this court that the directions given would be duly complied with within two weeks. We further direct that affidavit, which has to be filed by the Delhi government and the MCD’s, will be filed by an officer of Additional Commissioner rank or equivalent,” it said.
The court also asked the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Northern Railways authority and Delhi Cantonment Board to file their affidavits in the matter.
The bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on May 25, asked the Member (secretary) of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to appear before it on the next date of hearing so that “they may provide legal assistance to persons who may be identified as manual scavengers.”
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2007 seeking rehabilitation of manual scavengers.
( Source – PTI )