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K’taka HC directs state gov't to come up with scholarship for children of manual scavengers

The court has given the government 30 days to come up with a uniform scheme for the same

Sabrangindia 05 Oct 2021

scholarship for children of manual scavengersImage Courtesy:thenewsminute.com

The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to come up with a scheme to grant scholarships to children of those who died due to manual scavenging, as also providing compassionate appointment to their legal heirs under Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, reported LiveLaw.

Section 13 of the Act provides for rehabilitation of persons identified as manual scavengers and under sub-section (1)(b) states that the children of a manual scavenger shall be entitled to scholarship as per the relevant scheme of the Central Government or the State Government or the local authorities.

Notably, this section does not concern itself with just those manual scavengers who have died, but all such persons identified as manual scavengers in the final list of manual scavengers published in pursuance of sub-section (6) of section 11 or added thereto in pursuance of sub-section (3) of section 12 of the Act.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum has directed the government to come up with a uniform scheme in this regard as there is a lot of disparity in paying scholarship.

The counsel of the petitioner, All India Central Council Of Trade Unions, informed the court that in the compliance report submitted by the state government under the head of scholarship, an amount of Rs 1,000 is mentioned while in some cases Rs. 10,000 has been given by the state. Hence there is lack of clarity whether the amount is paid monthly or yearly or as a one time measure.

To this, the court responded that if the lump sum is Rs. 1,000 then it is an eye wash and the Rs.10,000 whether it is yearly or monthly in unclear.

The court has thus directed the state government to come up with a proper uniform scheme in this regard within 30 days. It also directed the state to complete within two months the survey for identifying and rehabilitating manual scavengers.

Specific incidents

The incident in Ramanagara that took place on June 4 took lives of 3 manual scavengers and the court has directed the state government to provide the family of the deceased with employment within a period of thirty days, reported LiveLaw.

Further in respect to the incident in Kalaburgi of January, where 2 manual scavengers lost their lives, casual appointment was granted to the legal heirs of those deceased. The court however pointed out that casual appointment can come to an end at any time and that they should be given training for some alternative profession/vocation as stipulated under section 13(1)(d).

While the continuous monitoring of the court in this regard is appreciated, it is not the mandate of the law. In clear terms, the Act has assigned functions to public servants to implement the provisions under the Act. The Court is simply passing directions on those lines to ensure that the families of manual scavengers receive the reliefs that are entitled to them under the Act. Especially in terms of rehabilitation, the District Magistrate is assigned with the task to ensure rehabilitation or any such subordinate officers or the concerned Municipality

Failure to provide safety equipment

The court was informed by Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari that the state has been non-compliant wit respect to providing necessary safety equipments at the local bodies as enumerated in the Rules under the Act. Rule 3, framed under the Act, provides for obligations of the employer towards employees engaged in the cleaning of sewer or septic tank and provision of safety equipment.

At the last hearing, on August 30, the court had directed the state to file a detailed chart in respect of equipment available with the corporations in terms of the Act of 2013. However, the state failed to file the same and hence the court has granted 30-days time to file the same.

Manual scavenging deaths

During the monsoon session, the Raja Sabha was informed by the Minister of Social Justice and Employment, Virendra Kumar, that 941 deaths related to cleaning sewers and septic tanks have been recorded across 21 States and Union Territories, but there are no reports of death due to manual scavenging.

He further stated that as per the two surveys conducted by the local authorities in 2013 and 2018, as many as 58,098 persons have been identified as manual scavengers.

The story will be updated with the order

Related:

Widows of three manual scavengers get compensation and rehabilitation from Bombay HC
941 deaths while cleaning sewers, septic tanks: Centre informs Rajya Sabha
Centre claims that nobody died due to manual scavenging reported in the last 5 years!

K’taka HC directs state gov't to come up with scholarship for children of manual scavengers

The court has given the government 30 days to come up with a uniform scheme for the same

scholarship for children of manual scavengersImage Courtesy:thenewsminute.com

The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to come up with a scheme to grant scholarships to children of those who died due to manual scavenging, as also providing compassionate appointment to their legal heirs under Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, reported LiveLaw.

Section 13 of the Act provides for rehabilitation of persons identified as manual scavengers and under sub-section (1)(b) states that the children of a manual scavenger shall be entitled to scholarship as per the relevant scheme of the Central Government or the State Government or the local authorities.

Notably, this section does not concern itself with just those manual scavengers who have died, but all such persons identified as manual scavengers in the final list of manual scavengers published in pursuance of sub-section (6) of section 11 or added thereto in pursuance of sub-section (3) of section 12 of the Act.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum has directed the government to come up with a uniform scheme in this regard as there is a lot of disparity in paying scholarship.

The counsel of the petitioner, All India Central Council Of Trade Unions, informed the court that in the compliance report submitted by the state government under the head of scholarship, an amount of Rs 1,000 is mentioned while in some cases Rs. 10,000 has been given by the state. Hence there is lack of clarity whether the amount is paid monthly or yearly or as a one time measure.

To this, the court responded that if the lump sum is Rs. 1,000 then it is an eye wash and the Rs.10,000 whether it is yearly or monthly in unclear.

The court has thus directed the state government to come up with a proper uniform scheme in this regard within 30 days. It also directed the state to complete within two months the survey for identifying and rehabilitating manual scavengers.

Specific incidents

The incident in Ramanagara that took place on June 4 took lives of 3 manual scavengers and the court has directed the state government to provide the family of the deceased with employment within a period of thirty days, reported LiveLaw.

Further in respect to the incident in Kalaburgi of January, where 2 manual scavengers lost their lives, casual appointment was granted to the legal heirs of those deceased. The court however pointed out that casual appointment can come to an end at any time and that they should be given training for some alternative profession/vocation as stipulated under section 13(1)(d).

While the continuous monitoring of the court in this regard is appreciated, it is not the mandate of the law. In clear terms, the Act has assigned functions to public servants to implement the provisions under the Act. The Court is simply passing directions on those lines to ensure that the families of manual scavengers receive the reliefs that are entitled to them under the Act. Especially in terms of rehabilitation, the District Magistrate is assigned with the task to ensure rehabilitation or any such subordinate officers or the concerned Municipality

Failure to provide safety equipment

The court was informed by Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari that the state has been non-compliant wit respect to providing necessary safety equipments at the local bodies as enumerated in the Rules under the Act. Rule 3, framed under the Act, provides for obligations of the employer towards employees engaged in the cleaning of sewer or septic tank and provision of safety equipment.

At the last hearing, on August 30, the court had directed the state to file a detailed chart in respect of equipment available with the corporations in terms of the Act of 2013. However, the state failed to file the same and hence the court has granted 30-days time to file the same.

Manual scavenging deaths

During the monsoon session, the Raja Sabha was informed by the Minister of Social Justice and Employment, Virendra Kumar, that 941 deaths related to cleaning sewers and septic tanks have been recorded across 21 States and Union Territories, but there are no reports of death due to manual scavenging.

He further stated that as per the two surveys conducted by the local authorities in 2013 and 2018, as many as 58,098 persons have been identified as manual scavengers.

The story will be updated with the order

Related:

Widows of three manual scavengers get compensation and rehabilitation from Bombay HC
941 deaths while cleaning sewers, septic tanks: Centre informs Rajya Sabha
Centre claims that nobody died due to manual scavenging reported in the last 5 years!

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