Friday, 6 December 2013

Parliament Passes Bill to Prohibit Employment of Manual Scavengers

A bill seeking to prohibit employment of individuals as manual scavengers by prescribing stringent punishment, including imprisonment up to five years, to those employing such labour was passed by Parliament on Saturday.

The bill has provisions for providing for rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their family members as well.
It has a wider scope for higher penalties than the 1993 Act. Offences under the Bill shall be cognisable and non-bailable and may be tried summarily. The penalty could be up to five years imprisonment.

The bill, which had got a strong push from Congress President Sonia Gandhi and seeks to wipe out this "social stigma" by arranging for alternative jobs and providing other provisions to those in such work and their families got the unanimous approval of Rajya Sabha today.

Lok Sabha had passed the bill on Friday.

Moving the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2013 in the Rajya Sabha, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Kumari Selja said the new bill had to be brought in as the earlier Act did not prove very effective.

Under the new law, each occupier of insanitary latrines shall be responsible for converting or demolishing the latrine at his own cost. If he fails to do so, the local authority shall convert the latrine and recover the cost from him.

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