The Madras High Court today directed all Municipal Corporation Commissioners across Tamil Nadu and heads of Municipalities to file written undertakings stating that no manual scavenging work will be permitted to be undertaken within their areas while assuming office in the future.
The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu gave the direction while passing further interim orders on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against engaging scavengers today.
"There cannot be any manual scavenging at all and it will continue to be the responsibility of all municipal bodies and Corporations across the State to ensure that there is no manual scavenging activity undertaken. The Commissioners of the Corporations and the heads of the Municipalities will be personally held liable in case any manual scavenging activity is detected or any mishap occurs in course thereof," the bench said.
"So as not to compromise public interest, the State should endeavour to obtain appropriate machines or improve the sewer lines to ensure that no manual scavenging is necessary anywhere in the state. It will also be the responsibility of the heads of Corporations and Municipalities to ensure that no private person also indulges in any manual scavenging activity or engages any other in such regard," the bench added.
It posted the matter for further hearing after six weeks on November 10. Meanwhile, the state's template for critical guidelines to be issued in such regard should be in place by the time the matter appears next, the judges said.
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