HC tells TN govt to take 'harsh measures' against manual scavenging

The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to bring up harsh measures to eradicate the practice of manual scavenging in the state

Madras High Court
Madras High Court
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IANS

The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to bring up harsh measures to eradicate the practice of manual scavenging in the state.

The court was responding while hearing a petition filed by the Safai Karmachari Andolan seeking to increase the compensation paid to deaths while doing manual scavenging.

The first bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Adikesvalu called upon the state government on Wednesday to prepare harsh measures as a deterrent against those who are the perpetrators of manual scavenging.

The court directed the state government to produce a status report within four weeks and also wanted the government to conduct a proper enumeration of those who are involved in manual scavenging jobs.

The advocate for the petitioners Srinath Sridevan said that while the state government pegs the number of manual scavengers at 464, according to the petitioners it would be well above 3000 in the state

The first bench of the Madras High Court agreed with the advocate representing the petitioners, Safai Karmachari Andolan that heavy compensation is given to those who die while engaging in manual scavenging.


The advocate for the petitioners had requested the court to increase the compensation amount due to death while conducting manual scavenging from Rs 10 lakh at present to a minimum of Rs 50 lakh.

The counsel for the petitioners argued that the earlier amount was fixed way back in 2014 and that the cost of living has escalated many folds and that the compensation was totally inadequate and inappropriate.

The judges directed the state government pleader, P. Muthukumar to get instructions regarding this matter.

The court also wanted the state government to create awareness among those who are into manual scavenging jobs that they are good at other vocations and called upon the state government to take initiatives to rehabilitate those who are engaged in manual scavenging after providing them with proper awareness.

The counsel for Safai Karmachari Andolan claimed that 42 people died since the present case was filed in 2017 and insisted that there should be a fresh enumeration. He also requested the court to give directions to the state government to provide employment to the dependents of those who die while engaging in manual scavenging.

The counsel for the petitioners also invited the attention of the first bench of the Madras High Court that no official has been punished for engaging people in manual scavenging and wanted to prosecute the local body officials and private individuals engaging people for manual scavenging.

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