Nine years after a PIL said over five lakh people were engaged in manual scavenging across the country,the government on Monday told the Supreme Court that a bill aimed at banning such practice will be introduced in Parliament soon. I have received written instructions that a bill is being introduced in Parliament in Monsoon session which will take care of the entire matter, Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval told a Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia.
We are committed to it (eliminating manual scavenging). Wait till Monsoon session, he further said before the Bench,also comprising Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar.
However,when Raval replied in affirmative that the petition would become infructuous upon the passage of such bill,advocates K Parameshwar and Shomona Khanna,appearing for NGO Safai Karamchari Andolan,submitted that pendency of a bill in Parliament is not relevant to the present proceedings.
They said the 2003 petition identifying the existence of around 5,77,228 manual scavengers across the country was for the implementation of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act,1993 to eliminate manual scavenging.
The NGO said over the last nine years several orders have been passed by the court but the implementation has not been proper and the Uttarakhand government has failed to respond to the contempt notice issued in 2009.
The counsel appearing for Uttarakhand government said directions issued by the apex court has been complied with.
However,the Bench said the state government will have to file a response to the contempt notice for alleged violation of the existing law of 1993.