Delhi High Court on Wednesday termed as “disgraceful” that many people in the national capital defecated in the open due to lack of public toilets and asked civic bodies and Railways whether adequate community latrines have been constructed by them.
A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva issued the direction to the municipalities, Delhi Cantonment Board and railway authorities after the court was told there were not enough toilets and latrines in the city.
The court was also told these authorities were required to construct adequate number of community sanitary latrines as per the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act of 2013 and that too within three years of commencement of the legislation.
It was also told that to use the existing public toilet facilities, people were being charged money and the poor cannot afford to pay on a daily basis, especially those with large families.
The court, thereafter, directed that the affidavits should also indicate whether the authorities have any policy for charging people using public toilets.
It also sought details regarding a survey carried out on the number of manual scavengers in the city and asked why a survey has not been conducted of the number of sanitary latrines.
The court granted the authorities one week to file their affidavits and warned that if the same was not filed by then, it “will be constrained” to proceed with “contempt action” against concerned officials.
It also directed the Delhi government to file an affidavit indicating whether all the provisions of the Act were being implemented and listed the matter for further hearing on January 20.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by an NGO in 2007 seeking rehabilitation of manual scavengers.