Last Updated: January 09, 2023, 20:47 IST
Lamenting the actions of those that compelled a person, who labored as a part-time sweeper at a Government Polytechnic, to dispose of scholars’ urine collected in a drum for a month, the Himachal Pradesh High Court ordered fee of Rs 2 Lakh as compensation.
The man, who belongs to the Scheduled Caste, had apprised the courtroom that he was compelled to do the ‘inhuman act’ regardless of him displaying the shortcoming to carry out the duty.
Taking a stern view, a bench of Justice Satyen Vaidya ordered the respondent authorities to provoke applicable motion/ proceedings in accordance with legislation in opposition to the official(s)/ individual(s) responsible of violating the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
The courtroom noticed that the petitioner suffered humiliation, ridicule, shame, mortification, and consequent embarrassment on account of acts and conduct attributable to the State and its instrumentalities.
While stating that the violation of authorized rights has manifestation of violation of basic proper, if stays un-redressed, the single-judge bench held, “The violator should not stay unpunished, for it is not going to solely deny justice to the petitioner but additionally show regressive in our development and quest for attaining the goals enshrined within the Constitution”.
The court was dealing with a writ petition filed by the man who worked at Government Polytechnic, Banikhet, Chamba district. He told the court that from December 5, 2017, to January 5, 2018, when the institute conducted its examination in a newly constructed building, the fourth floor had no toilet facility. So he was forced to keep a drum outside the examination centre for students to urinate, he said.
He said that he was further directed to empty the drum on the first floor by carrying the same down from the fourth floor and while doing so, one day, he fell on the staircase and suffered injuries.
He also stated that he made representations before the Chief Minister of the State as well as the Chief Justice seeking justice, but his grievance was not redressed, which forced him to file the instant petition.
However, the plea was opposed by the respondents who stated that in an inquiry conducted by the Tehsildar, the allegations were found baseless.
The respondent institute had further submitted that the man had voluntarily agreed to perform the duty of urine disposal and was assigned the job in lieu of payment of extra remuneration at the rate of Rs. 55 per shift.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
However, the court observed that the law clearly prohibits manual scavenging. It referred to Section 5 of the Act of 2013 and opined that it specifically prohibits the employment and engagement of manual scavengers.
Therefore, the court held that the facts of the case revealed the `of the provisions contained in the Act of 2013.
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