The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed the Delhi government and the Delhi Jal Board to investigate an instance of men cleaning sewage, despite a law prohibiting manual scavenging in the capital.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon issued the direction, after a PIL highlighted a video that went viral on social media this month, showing manual scavengers employed by the Delhi Jal Board cleaning sewers on the main road near Netaji Subhash Place.
The court directed the authorities to place their stand by April 26, when it will hear similar PILs seeking direction to the Delhi government to ensure strict compliance with the 2013 law on manual scavengers, enacted for their rehabilitation and prohibiting the practice of manual scavenging.
The court was hearing a PIL by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni, who pressed for the implementation of the law, as it would “prevent loss of lives due to manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks”.
“It requires to put an end to this social evil and inhuman treatment of manual scavengers,” Sahni said in his PIL, adding that despite a blanket ban on the same, manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks is still being done.
The plea highlighted that “excreta in the sewer creates harmful gases such as sulphur, methane and others that can cause severe damage and even death” of the persons cleaning it.