Taking serious note of manual scavenging in the pilgrim town of Pandharpur here, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to release Rs. 5 crore immediately to the municipal council to help deploy mobile toilets on a war footing. The government should file a compliance report by May 8.

“How can you justify employing human beings to carry out manual scavenging in this day and age? Asking human beings to clean human waste is a violation of basic fundamental rights. This will shock the conscience of anyone,” a Division Bench of Justices A.S. Oka and A.S. Sayed said. The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition for directing the State government and the municipal council to stop manual scavenging immediately.

The court directed the government to comply with its order immediately, notwithstanding the election and the model code of conduct.