CHENNAI: In a bid to make heads of corporations and municipalities squarely responsible for deaths due to manual scavenging, the Madras HC has directed them to file a written undertaking to the effect that no manual scavenging work would be permitted to be undertaken within their jurisdiction.
“The court may, ultimately, suggest such an undertaking to be furnished by any commissioner pertaining to the corporation or head of the municipality when assuming office in future,” the first bench of chief justice Sanjib Banerjee and justice PD Audikesavalu said on Wednesday.
It passed the order on a batch of pleas seeking to end manual scavenging.
“It is heartening that no further death of any safai karmachari is reported. There can’t 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’s no manual scavenging activity undertaken,” the court said.
The commissioners of the corporations and the heads of municipalities, as indicated in previous orders, will be personally held liable in case any manual scavenging activity is detected or any mishap occurs in course thereof, it added.
“The state should endeavour to obtain appropriate machines or improve sewer lines to ensure that no manual scavenging is necessary anywhere in the state,” the bench said.
The court adjourned the matter to November 10 for the state to place its template for norms to be issued in such regard.





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