SC awarded compensation for sewer deaths since 1993
The Supreme Court of India awarded a compensation of Rs.10 lakh each for the families of all the manual scavengers who have died in sewerage work since 1993 and also criminalized entering sewer lines without safety gear.
The Chief Justice P. Sathasivam bench stated that Sewer deaths—entering sewer lines without safety gear should be made a crime even in emergency situations.
- Identify the families of all the persons who have died in sewerage work (manholes, septic tanks) since 1993 and award compensation of Rs.10 lakh for each such death to the family members.
- Ordered all the state governments and UnionTerritories to fully implement legislation for eradicating manual scavenging and take action against violators, while issuing directions for education, employment and rehabilitation of affected people.
- As per the relevant scheme of the Central or state governments, the children of manual scavengers should be entitled to scholarships.
- The people who were employed as scavengers be alloted residential plot or ready-built house or financial assistance for house construction according to their eligibility and willingness,
- At least one member of their family shall be given training in livelihood skill and be paid monthly stipend.
- At least one adult member shall be given subsidy and concessional loan for taking up an alternative occupation on sustainable basis.
- The Indian Railways is the largest employer of manual scavengers. It should take time bound strategy to end manual scavenging on the tracks and persons released from manual scavenging should not have to cross hurdles to receive what is their legitimate due under the law.
Note: Manual scavenging is a term used for the practice of physically removing human excrement from dry toilets with bare hands, brooms and metal scrappers. About 95% of the manual scavengers are dalits who clean the so-called night soil, mostly from the toilets of the upper castes.