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Take meaningful steps to eradicate manual scavenging, High Court tells TN govt

The Madras High Court on Wednesday urged the Tamil Nadu government to initiate meaningful steps to eradicate the practice of manual scavenging in the State.

Take meaningful steps to eradicate manual scavenging, High Court tells TN govt
Madras High Court (File Photo)


The division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu issued the direction while hearing a petition moved by Safai Karamchari Andolan, which had sought a direction by the bench to the government to stop manual scavenging in the State. 

“The government should completely eradicate the manual scavenging practice. Also, the compensation for victims who lose their lives in the method needs to be substantially increased,” the organisation submitted.

Recording the submissions, the bench asked government pleader P Muthukumar about the steps taken to eradicate manual scavenging. Responding to this, the government pleader submitted that no Municipal Corporation, municipality or any other local body in the State has deployed manual scavengers.

The bench then asked the government to take necessary steps to create awareness among the people who are involved in manual scavenging works that there were several other jobs that are available for them.

“Currently, the compensation for people who die while cleaning underground drainage is Rs 10 lakh. It (compensation) shall be increased further. The State must erase the impression among manual scavengers that they can’t take up any other job. They must be rehabilitated and compensation for deaths due to manual scavenging must be increased substantially from the current quantum of Rs 10 lakh,” the HC held.

The bench led by Chief Justice Banerjee also directed the government to impose tough penalties on those who encourage manual scavenging practice. “The State government should come up with some meaningful steps to completely eradicate the practice of manual scavenging,” the HC observed and adjourned the matter.

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