Guidelines on manual scavenging violated more than being followed: Allahabad HC

Court hears suo motu PIL on workers cleaning drains in State without protective gear

September 08, 2022 10:11 am | Updated 10:11 am IST

Representational image. File

Representational image. File | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Coming down heavily on civic authorities in Uttar Pradesh while hearing a suo motu PIL regarding manual scavenging, the Allahabad High Court observed, “The guidelines are being violated more than being followed.”

The court had taken suo motu cognisance of a newspaper report published on May 24, which said the city's drains were being cleaned by sanitation workers - deployed by the civic body and contractors - without any protective gear.

A Bench of Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice J.J Munir had on July 25 sought a report from Member Secretaries of the District Legal Services Authority in the State, over the manner in which drains are being cleaned in different cities of U.P., to ensure that the guidelines issued by the Government of India and various other authorities are being followed.

“The report sought from the districts was produced in court (on Sept 01) and a perusal of some of the photographs shows that the guidelines are being violated more than they are being followed. Copy of the report has been handed over to the learned counsel for the State and counsel for the Nagar Nigam, Prayagraj to enable them to respond to the facts stated in the report,” said the court.

As per a report of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Employment, 51 sanitation workers have died in U.P. while cleaning sewers and septic tanks since 2017. The government also informed that of the 58,098 manual scavengers currently working in India, 32,473 are in U.P.

The court had previously observed that “a lot more is required to be done to come out of the situation as is existing today, with reference to cleaning of drains not only in Prayagraj, but throughout the State”.

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