Seeking to put a complete end to Manual scavenging, the Madras High Court on Wednesday made it clear that it would issue a set of guidelines amid submission from the State that it has issued a circular, warning contractors of cancelling work orders and blacklisting them if manual scavenging was resorted to.
The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, made the observation while dealing with a pending PIL against manual scavenging moved by Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA).
Seeking SKA to give a comprehensive response to the counter filed by the State and the Chennai Corporation on the issue in a fortnight, so that guidelines can be issued to bring this ‘nonsense’ to a complete end, the Chief Justice yet again observed that the municipal commissioners should also be booked for culpable homicide if there were any more deaths irrespective of whether they were engaged by them or the contractor.
Though the State claimed that the State has fixed responsibility on the contractors, Chief Justice Banerjee observed that the Sewers are such that either you have to have machines tailor-made or change your sewers. “You do not want to spend the money and the sewers are in such a form that only a human can enter,” the Chief Justice said.
However, the bench holding that these are not adversarial matters sought the State to come up with suggestions that would stop this practice. “You (State) are better experienced. If you suggest certain things, we can incorporate,” the bench added.