Chennai High Court Says ‘No’ to Manual scavenging


No human being should be allowed to get into sewerage and drainage lines to clear blocks, the Madras High Court said on Monday.

Passing interim orders on a public interest litigation petition, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice A.K.Ganguly and Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, said if any drain was choked, it was the responsibility of the authorities to get the block cleared, using mechanical devices. The court posted the matter for October 15.

In his petition, A.Narayanan of Virugambakkam, a managing director of a private firm and founder of PAADAM (People Against Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Merchandise), said employing manual scavengers for removing human excreta had been made illegal.

Manual scavenging violated Articles, 14, 17 and 23 of the Constitution. Since the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act came into force, governments were undertaking measures to totally do away with manual scavenging and for the rehabilitation of Dalit communities engaged in such a demeaning occupation.

The petitioner said that the Tamil Nadu government had stated that it was in the forefront of social reforms, especially for the welfare of Adi Dravidars and tribal communities.


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