December 14, 2016 10:11:07 pm
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday came down on the AAP government over its “failure” to frame rules regarding rehabilitation of manual scavengers in the national capital despite a law prohibiting the practice.
A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, it is mandatory that the state government frames rules, failing which it ought to be penalised.
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“It is mandatory under the Act and you do not do it. It means that the government is dismissed on this ground alone,” the bench said.
“The Act commenced in September 2013 and now we are into end of 2016. Three months were given to frame the rules after the commencement of the Act, but that has passed long back. Even the order passed by this court three months back has not been complied with,” it said.
“You say the previous government has not done anything, But what have you done. Is your government doing anything?” the bench asked the counsel for the AAP government.
The court also sought to know from the government as to whether any committee was set up by it to look into the implementation of the Act.
It said the Principal Secretary of Delhi government’s Social Welfare Department will have to file an affidavit before February 1 next year, explaining why section 36 of the Act has not been implemented.
Section 36 states the appropriate government shall, by notification, make rules for carrying out the provisions of this Act, within a period not exceeding three months from the date of commencement of the Act.
The court was hearing of a PIL filed in 2007 for rehabilitation of manual scavengers.
It had earlier termed as “disgraceful” the existence of manual scavenging in the city despite a law prohibiting such a practice and said, “We are a country of poor people but not for poor people.”
It is “ridiculous and shocking”, the court had observed when informed by Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA’s) Member Secretary, Dharmesh Sharma, that one of the manual scavengers was a “graduate”.
DSLSA, in an interim report, had said that there were manual scavengers in the national capital.
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