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Manual Scavengers Bill 2012 • Detailed

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Manual Scavengers at work
Manual Scavengers at work

IN NEWS “Manual Scavengers”

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed serious concern at the inordinate delay in Parliament passing the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill.
  • The Bench said: “they [manual scavengers] are marginalised and Parliament needs to take adequate steps to pass the Bill. It had been over a year and half that the Additional Solicitor-General has been promising to do something. We need a proper reply.”

The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012

  • Background

    • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers  and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012 was introduced in the  Lok Sabha on September 3, 2012 by the Minister of Social  Justice and Empowerment, Mukul Wasnik.
    • The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment. The Chairperson of this committee is Dara Singh Chauhan.
    • The Bill prohibits employing a person as a manual scavenger and provides for the rehabilitation of people  currently engaged in the profession.
  • Definition of Manual Scavenger according to the bill

    • A “manual scavenger” is defined as a person who is engaged for manually cleaning or disposing of human  excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or on a  railway track. “Insanitary latrine” means a latrine which  requires human excreta to be cleaned manually (except  water flush latrine in a railway passenger coach which is  cleaned by an employee using protective gear as notified  by the central government).
  • Safeguards for Manual Scavengers

    • The Bill prohibits any person, local authority or agency to construct an insanitary latrine or engage a person for manual scavenging.
    • Every local authority (Municipality, Panchayat, Cantonment board etc.) has to carry out a survey of insanitary latrines existing within its jurisdiction.
    • The authorities have to publish a list of such latrines within two months of the law coming into force and give a notice to the occupiers to either demolish them or convert them to sanitary latrines within six months.
    • If there is reason to believe there are manual scavengers in  a municipality or a Panchayat, the Chief Executive Officer  of such municipality or Panchayat shall conduct a survey  to determine the number. All persons listed shall not be  obliged to work as manual scavengers and shall be  rehabilitated in the specified manner. This includes a one  time cash assistance, residential plot and training.
    • The Bill makes also makes it mandatory for municipalities,  cantonment boards and railway authorities to construct  adequate number of sanitary community latrines within  three years of this Act coming into force.
  • Penal provisions in the bill

    • If anyone employs a manual scavenger or constructs an  insanitary latrine, he shall be penalized with imprisonment  up to one year or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both. The  penalty for subsequent offences is higher. The District Magistrate has to ensure that no  person within his jurisdiction is engaged as a manual  scavenger, constructs an insanitary latrine, and manual  scavengers are rehabilitated.
    • Every local authority or agency is prohibited from  employing a person for hazardous cleaning (manual  cleaning without protective gear and other safety  precautions) of a sewer or a septic tank. This provision is  applicable within a year of the Act coming into force. The  penalty for violation is imprisonment for up to two years  or a fine up to Rs 2 lakh or both.
    • A complaint has to be made within three months of the  occurrence of the alleged offence.
    • The offences under this Act may be tried by an Executive  Magistrate on whom the state government may confer  powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.
  • Monitoring mechanism for effective implementation

    • The central government shall constitute a Central  Monitoring Committee and every state government a State  Monitoring Committee. These Committees shall advise  the appropriate government and local authorities on  effective implementation of the law
    • Every state government shall constitute a Vigilance  Commission for each district. The Commission shall  advise the District Magistrate on the implementation of  the law, oversee rehabilitation and monitor the  registration, investigation and prosecution of offences.
    • The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (a statutory body) shall monitor the implementation of this  Act, inquire into complaints of contravention of the Act  and advice the central and state government on effective  implementation of the Act.

Evaluate yourself. ANSWER ME!!!

Q : Discuss briefly the various provisions of ‘The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012’. Suggest ways at strengthening the monitoring mechanisms against employment of manual scavengers?

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