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Dignity Defiled: Law And Policies For Manual Scavengers

By Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary

19 August, 2011

I. Introduction

On October 25, 2010, the National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by Sonia Gandhi, resolved, with much fan-fare, to totally abolish the derogatory and obnoxious practice of manual scavenging in India. [1] In the wake of the historical India-wide march for total eradication of scavenging, led by the Safai Karamchari Andolan(SKA) [2] under the leadership of B.Wilson, the NAC emphasized the need for legal reform and proper monitoring of laws related to manual scavenging as well as accountability of concerned officials to end the gross violation of basic human rights and dignity of manual scavengers. Before that, the print media especially the daily Hindu , had widely reported the shocking pattern of desperate protests resorted to by manual scavengers to make their issues public. One particularly dramatic protest took place on October 15, 2010, when Dharam Kumar, a Dalit manual scavenger from Gulbarga district in northern Karnataka, poured and smeared human excreta over his head and body in front of the office of the Gulbarga City Corporation to draw the attention of the city corporation officials to the issue of contracts for the maintenance of a pay-and-use toilet in Gulbarga City [3] . In response to this act of desperate protest that brought shame to the municipal officials, the vengeful authorities tried to teach a ‘proper lesson' to the Dalit protestors. On a complaint filed by the Health Officer of the city corporation, the police arrested Dharam Kumar and his supporters. Following this, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, the Union Labour Minister, reacted strongly to the incident and condemned the arrest of Dharam Kumar. He wondered as to why no action had been taken against the erring officials. [4]

Several such incidents have taken place in recent months elsewhere in the country. In this backdrop, this paper attempts to discuss and analyse the legal and institutional mechanisms to address the issues and concerns of manual scavengers. It briefly discuses two approaches, of Gandhi and Ambedkar, who pioneered the cause of the Untouchables, with regard to the pernicious suffering of manual scavengers in pre-independence India, which continues unabated even today in large parts of India. It also examines the interventions made by various international forums, civil society groups and community organisations to address the problem of manual scavenging.

II. Two Approaches and Literature Review

During the independence movement, M.K. Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar took up the issue of manual scavengers from different perspectives. The writings and correspondence of Gandhi suggest that though he was sympathetic to the plight and suffering of Bhangis, and even called himself a “Bhangi” and appeared to glorify what was considered to be the Bhangis' deplorable work, he protested against their legitimate right to strike to have their demands met and grievances addressed [5] . In the face of strike called by the sweepers of Bombay, Gandhi announced:

“ In spite of my close attachment to sweepers, better because of it, I must denounce the coercive methods they are said to have employed. They will thereby be losers in the long run. City folk will not always be cowed down. If they were, it would mean the collapse of municipal administration. Coercion cannot but result in the end in chaos. A Bhangi may not give up his work even for a day. And there are many other ways open to him of securing justice. Refusal is a sign of weakness” [6] .

On other hand, Babasaheb Ambedkar was very critical of the Gandhian approach and methods to address the problems of the Untouchables in general and of the Bhangis in particular. He was aware of the limitations of Gandhian tactics with regard to the Bhangis [7] , and, unlike Gandhi, he supported the sweepers' strike.

Gandhi and Ambedkar followed different approaches to the abolition of untouchability and the eradication of the practice of manual scavenging. The former advocated change of heart and morality on the part of the oppressor castes, while the later called for political praxis, agitation and legal intervention, especially by the victims of the caste system.

While some works have discussed and analysed various sociological and anthropological aspects of manual scavengers [8] , the impact of the law, legal mechanisms and welfare schemes for them have not been properly dealt with. Many of the works on manual scavengers are of regional and/or autobiographical nature. The official reports of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis are useful for general and first-hand information on demography and developmental indicators of manual scavengers and various factors responsible for the poor delivery of welfare schemes meant for these communities. The Eleventh Five Year Plan, which formally proclaims inclusive growth through inclusive polices, refers to issues of manual scavengers as supposedly a matter of priority. It notes, “Among the SCs, persons engaged as manual scavengers need special attention to put an end to the degraded practice of manual scavenging. Despite commitments made to the eradication of the obnoxious and dehumanizing practice of handling night soil manually, it still continues.” [9]

III. Manual Scavengers in India

Manual scavengers are among the most excluded and exploited communities among the Dalits. They are considered to be the lowest in Hindu caste hierarchy and, therefore, suffer multiple forms of discrimination and social exclusion at the hand of caste Hindus and the state's functionaries. They are found in almost all cities of India—where they sweep the streets and manually engage in carrying night-soil. Women from these communities are the worst victims as they constitute more than eighty per cent of work force of manual scavengers. Apart from the social stigma that they suffer, their work is low-paid. Further, it causes various health problems, those who engage in this work being exposed to the most virulent forms of viral and bacterial infections that affect their skin, eyes, limbs, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems . Vast numbers of manual scavengers have died while cleaning sewage.

There are different caste names for manual scavengers in various parts of India, including Balimiki, Bhangi, Mehatar, Lalbegi, Chuhara, Mira (in UP, MP, Bihar, Punjab, Maharashtra) Hadi (in West Bengal), Paki (in Andhra Pradesh), Thotti (in Tamil Nadu), etc.. Their population is not counted separately under the census because they fall under the single legal category of ‘Scheduled Castes'. However, their total population would not less than 13 lakhs. [10] As per the annual report of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Government of India 2009), there are 7, 70,338 manual scavengers and their dependents across India. The highest number of manual scavengers was in Uttar Pradesh (2,13,975), followed by Madhya Pradesh (81,307), Maharashtra (64,785), Gujarat (64195), Andhra Pradesh (45,822) and Assam (40,413). The same report mentions that a total of 4,27,870 manual scavengers have been assisted under the National Scheme of Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers ( NSLRS) and are, therefore, ineligible for availing any further assistance under this programme. The remaining number of manual scavengers who are yet to be rehabilitated is 3, 42,468 [11] . While the official report asserts there are no manual scavengers in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Chhattisgarh, since all of them have been allegedly rehabilitated under the policies and schemes meant for them, various studies and experiences of rights activists and community organization like the Safai Karamchari Andolan reveal that the state machinery hides the inhuman practice of manual scavenging wich continues in those states.

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, a statutory body, has pointed out the use of dry latrines and continued employment of manual scavengers by various departments of the Union of India, particularly the Railways, the Department of Defence and the Ministry of Industries. The Indian railways is one of the largest employers of manual scavengers While states like Haryana deny employing manual scavengers, other states like Andhra Pradesh employ them through municipalities. The practice continues in almost all states, including even the country's capital, Delhi.

IV. Law for Manual Scavengers

M.K. Gandhi raised the issue of the horrible working and social conditions of Bhangis more than 100 years ago at the 1901 Congress session. [12] Yet, it took about 90 years for the country to enact a uniform law abolishing manual scavenging. The legal mechanism that addresses the issues and interests of Dalits, including manual scavengers, is based on the various provisions of the Constitution of India. [13] A few special laws and rules framed under them, like the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 [14] and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act, 1989, are equally applicable to manual scavengers. Moreover, the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 (hereafter the Act, 1993) and the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993 are exclusive laws meant for manual scavengers, which require analysis in detail.


Aims and Objectives of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993


The Act, 1993 is not only a penal but also a social legislation. It intends to protect and restore the dignity of manual scavengers by prohibiting the employment of manual scavengers for constructing or cleaning of dry latrines and regulating the maintenance of water-seal latrines. Since sanitation is a state subject, the Act originally came into force in six states [15] and all the Union Territories under clause (1) of Article 252 of the Constitution of India. A s of 2007, 19 States and all UTs adopted the Act, 1993 [16] , and nine States were yet to adopt it.

Definition of Manual Scavengers


The term ‘manual scavenger' has been defined under section 2(j) of the Act, 1993. According to it, a “manual scavenger” means a person who is engaged in or employed for carrying human excreta, and the expression “manual scavenging” shall, it reads, be construed accordingly. This is very narrow definition, and, as pointed out by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis report of 2000, it must be expanded to include reference to those who handle material like garbage, sewage etc, or engage in any other similar work which is considered obnoxious or derogatory to human dignity.

Conditions for the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers

Section 3 of the Act is of great significance as it prohibits employment of manual scavengers. Nonetheless, it provides exemption (section 4) for the exclusion of certain areas, categories of buildings or class of persons from any provision of this Act. Sub-clause (1) of section 3 of the Act says that the State Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf, that no persons shall:

(a) Engage in or employ for or permit to be engaged in or employed for any other person for manually carrying human excreta; or

(b) Construct or maintain a dry latrine.

But Section 3(2) states: state government shall not issue a notification under sub-section (1) unless-

(a) It has, by notification, given not less than ninety days' notice to do so;

(b) Adequate facilities for the use of water-seal latrines in that area exist; and

(c) It is necessary or expedient to do so for the protection and improvement of the environment or public health in that area.

It is discernable that the Act places more emphasis on sanitation, the protection of the environment and so on than on the human dignity of the manual scavengers. S.R. Sankaran rightly comments that “the Act ignores the issue of human dignity mentioned in its own preamble. By making the existence of adequate facilities for use of water seal latrine a precondition, section 3(2) makes it virtually impossible to abolish manual scavenging. This entire section appears misconceived and goes contrary to the very objective of the abolition and prohibition of the dehumanizing practice of manual scavenging” [17] .

Responsibility for Implementation


The responsibility to implement the provisions of the Act rests on the district magistrate or a sub-divisional magistrate, and the same authorities have been conferred the power to discharge the function of executive authority under section 5 of the Act. The previous sanction of the executive authority is needed for prosecution and taking cognizance of an offence. Sub-section (3) of section 17 says, ‘no court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act except upon a complaint made by a person generally or specifically authorized in this behalf by the executive authority'. Also, the action can only be taken when a person authorized by the executive authority makes a complaint regarding violation of law (section 17). Considering the subject and object of the Act, this runs against the spirit and purpose of the law as it denies the victim the right to file a complaint directly. Section 18 of the Act places a limitation of three months for making a complaint. Offence under the Act is cognizable with a punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to only one year or with a fine, which may extend to only two thousand rupees or both. All these limiting provisions serve to kill the basic purpose of the Act. Because of this, there has been very little prosecution under the Act.

V. Schemes for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers


Provision for the liberation of manual scavengers through financial assistance, rehabilitation etc. has been envisaged under the Act, 1993. Section 6 of the Act provides powers to the State Government to make schemes for regulating the conversion of dry latrines into water-seal latrines, the construction and maintenance of water-seal latrines, as well as the rehabilitation of persons engaged in manual scavenging. Another aspect of the schemes is the role and duty of HUDCO ( Housing And Urban Development Corporation Ltd) . Since a large number of manual scavengers live and work in urban areas, a positive duty has been placed on HUDCO to extend financial assistance for the implementation of schemes for the construction of water-seal latrines (section 11). It has been left to the officials of HUDCO to decide the ‘suitable cases' for such assistance, thus making the scheme of rehabilitation inadequate and ineffective.

Constitution of Monitoring Committees


Under the Act the Central Government is required to constitute one or more project committees for appraising schemes for the construction of water-seal latrines in the country and one or more monitoring committees to monitor the progress of such schemes (Sec.13.1). On the other hand, the State Government is required to arrange for the coordinating and monitoring of programmes for the construction of water-seal latrines in the state and rehabilitation of manual scavengers (Sec.13.4). Official reports [18] and studies by Gita Ramaswami [19] suggest that monitoring committees are regularly caught in the cross-fire and procrastination of the bureaucratic set-up. Yogendra Yadav has aptly commented that the status of National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Safai Karmcharis or even the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment enjoy a position similar to that of Dalits in villages [20] .


National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993


Another piece of legislation that purportedly addresses issues pertaining to manual scavengers or Safai Karamcharis is the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993, under which a seven-member National Commission for Safai Karamcharis is required to be set by the Central Government. Very strangely, a provision for the date of demise (described as such by noted legal specialist Upendra Baxi) [21] of the law has been incorporated under section 1(4) [22] of the Act. Thus, the Act has to be amended from time to time to extend its validity and term of office of the Commission.

The power and functions of the National Commission under section 8 of the Act include recommending to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis under a time-bound action plan, conducting studies to evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis, making recommendations to the Central Government and State Government for better co-ordination and implementation of such programmes and schemes, investigating specific grievances and taking up such matters with the concerned authorities or with the Central or State Governments. Also, the Commission has to make periodic reports to the Central and State Governments on any matter concerning Safai Karamcharis, taking into account any difficulties or disabilities being encountered by them. While the Commission shall have power to call for information with respect to any matter specified in sub-section 1 of section 8 from any Government or local or other authority, no real power in terms of executive, judicial or financial has been conferred to the Commission. It is merely advisory body devoid of real authority.

Official reports of the Commission reveal that, despite reiterating the need for providing adequate infrastructure like space for office of chairperson, computers and group D staff for the proper functioning of the Commission, this recommendation remains unheard. It appears that this ‘National Commission' remains an “Untouchable Commission”, set up only for political purposes. The Commission has submitted a few reports to the Government of India but to what extent its recommendations have been followed by the government is anyone's guess.



Policies of Inclusion for Manual Scavengers


The document of the Eleventh Five Year Plan makes special reference to the socio-economic situation of manual scavengers . [23] There are number of state-funded schemes and policies supposedly meant for educational, economic and social development of Dalits in general and of manual scavengers in particular. And for this purpose budgetary allocation has been made by the central and state government as well. A total of Rs.11,092.01 crore was outlaid in the XI Five Year Plan, 2007-12 for ‘Backward Classes of citizens', including Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes. [24] The annual Plan outlay of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for 2009-10 was only Rs. 2,500 crore. Rs 480.00 crore for was allotted for the Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Castes Component Plan; Rs. 20.00 crore for Equity support to the Scheduled Castes Development Corporations of States; Rs. 45.00 crore for the National Scheduled Caste Finance & Development Corporation; Rs. 30.00 crore for the National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation; and Rs. 100.00 crore for the Self-Employment Scheme for the Rehabilitation of Scavengers. [25] But as to how this money has been used and the extent to which it has benefitted manual scavengers, little can be said with confidence.


The National Safai Karamchari Finance and Development Corporation


The main financial agency exclusively set up by the government to address the economic and other developmental issues of manual scavengers is the National Safai Karamchari Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC). The Corporation provides loans at a concessional rate of interest to target groups through State channelizing agencies in 27 States and Union Territories. The Corporation disbursed a cumulative sum of Rs. 212.07 crore till the end of 2004-05. This includes a sum of Rs. 33.60 crore disbursed under micro-credit finance, including loan component for implementation of the National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers (up to 2002-03). During 2004-05, the Corporation disbursed loans amounting to Rs. 43.77 crore to 9,539 beneficiaries [26] . Equity Capital of Rs. 30 crore was sanctioned to the National Safai Karamchari Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) during 2009-10. With this, the paid-up capital of the Corporation has now risen from Rs 230 crore to Rs. 260 crore against an authorized share capital of Rs. 300 crore. Here, again, the actual success of the Corporation in ameliorating the pathetic conditions of the manual scavengers is a matter that calls for detailed empirical study.

Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers


Following the principles of purported ‘inclusive growth', a new scheme, namely the Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers was launched in 2007, supposedly to emancipate and rehabilitate manual scavengers and their dependents. Under this scheme, financial aid, training, extension and loan are to be provided to manual scavengers to liberate the scavengers from their existing hereditary, obnoxious and inhuman occupation of manually removing night soil and filth and to enable them to engage in alternative occupations so that they can lead a dignified and respectful life. While the government claims to be committed to rehabilitating the remaining several lakh scavengers in a time-bound manner through training, and extension of loans and subsidies, this still remains a dream for these hapless victims of a centuries'-old caste-based practice.

The programme has three necessary components, (1) Legislative back-up to prohibit dry latrines and manual scavenging in the form of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act. 1993 ; (2) an alternative to dry latrines in the form of low-cost sanitation units, for which loan and subsidy are provided under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Low Cost Sanitation Scheme for Liberation of Scavengers; and (3) the National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers and their Dependents for training and rehabilitation in alternative occupations.

With regard to rehabilitating scavengers, projects costing up to Rs. 50,000/- for each beneficiary are financed by way of a prescribed financial package comprising 50% subsidy, subject to a ceiling of Rs. 10,000/- per project. 15% of the project cost which is shared between the Central Government and State Government in the ratio 49:51, the rest provided through loan from banks and NSKFDC. The aim of the scheme is to establish sanitary marts in towns and cities where scavengers reside. The sanitary marts are established to meet mainly three purposes: (a) rehabilitating scavengers, (b) eradicating manual scavenging, and (c) creating demand for latrines through motivation.

There is a need to restructure the schemes so that they become more ‘sustainable'. The corporations need to be thoroughly professionalized so that programmes financed by them help develop entrepreneurial skills of the loanees. Based upon the effective performance of the Finance and Development Corporations, the capital available at their disposal may be increased substantially to provide support to SC/ST businesses.

Manual Scavengers at International and National Forums

The issues and concerns of manual scavengers have also been raised and reflected on and by the international forums, especially the UN, in recent times. In 2009, the special rapporteurs constituted by the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights studied the issue of discrimination based on work and descent at a global level. The report of the special rapporteurs, which contains draft principles and guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination Based on Work and Descent, [27] is one of the major developments in evolving norms and standards regarding discrimination based on work and descent or caste. It has reflected upon the problems of manual scavengers by calling upon national and local governments to ensure the complete eradication of manual scavenging and other unhealthy working conditions in accordance with international standards and for governments to enact and enforce legislations guaranteeing decent work, a living wage and labour rights for the affected communities.


Before this, in 2007, the annual report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination of the UN expressed serious concern about the deplorable conditions of manual scavengers in India. It stated, “The Committee notes with concern that very large numbers of Dalits are forced to work as manual scavengers” [28]

Apart from the various agencies of the UN, some reputed international NGOs, like Human Rights Watch in its 1999 [29] and 2007 [30] reports, have dealt with the issues of manual scavengers, linking these to untouchability and caste-based discrimination. The 1999 study by Human Rights Watch recommended that the government should ensure appropriate implementation of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, including prosecution of officials responsible for the perpetuation of the practice and non-rehabilitation of affected scavenger communities, almost all who are Dalits. It further stated, “The government should ensure that states and districts constitute and oversee vigilance and monitoring committees with adequate representation of NGOs, women, and members of the scavenger communities. State governments should also train district officials charged with enforcing the act. The World Health Organization should investigate and publicize the adverse health consequences arising from the practice of manual scavenging and promote measures to eliminate exposure of Dalits to hazardous work conditions.” [31]

To eradicate the practice of manual scavenging and to empower manual scavengers, some Indian NGOs and community organizations like the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) and Sulabh International, have been engaging in seeking to address the issues of manual scavengers. In 2008, the SKA officially launched ‘Action 2010' programme aimed at eliminating manual scavenging in India by 31st December 2010 and for that it held a country-wide march which was substantially reported in the media. [32] Sulabh International, which has set up Sulabh Sauchalyas, low-cost safe sanitation systems across the country, also led a kind of movement to liberate manual scavengers. [33] The National Human Rights Commission has also called for an end to the heinous practice of manual scavenging. [34] However, without proactive intervention from state agencies, the problem of manual scavengers remains.


Manual scavengers predominantly belong to ex-Untouchable castes and, therefore, are subjected to additional discrimination and social exclusion based on untouchability. Abolition of untouchability is a Constitutional mandate. Therefore, the onus of eradicating manual scavenging should rest on the state, on the Central and state governments equally. Despite the special laws, instructional mechanisms and inclusive policies meant for manual scavengers, they continue to be compelled by circumstances to perform dehumanising and degrading work. In the twenty-first century, this is a matter of shame to the much-touted ‘shining India'.

Dry latrines, which are cleaned by manual scavengers, still exist in public establishments and private houses in many parts of India, defying the mandatory provisions of law and morality. There are inherent lacunae under the Act of 1993, such as a narrow definition of manual scavengers, limiting provisions etc., which need to be amended to fulfill the Constitutional, democratic and human rights deficits faced by manual scavengers. While the schemes and policies of the state have had some impact, they have failed to liberate and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers. For this, the approach and behavior of all concerned stake-holders, especially agencies of the state and the dominant castes/classes, have to change in order to serve Constitutional and human rights values.

  Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary is Assistant Professor of Law, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, National Law School of India University, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore. Email: advocate.sanjaykchaudhary@gmail.com

[1] News item, The Hindu, Bangalore Edition, October 27, 2010. See also, http://nac.nic.in/images/resolution_man.pdf (Visited on October 10, 2010)

[2] See, http://safaikarmachariandolan.org/ (Visited on October 10, 2010)

[3] The Hindu , Bangalore Edition, October 16, 2010, p.1

[4] The Hindu , Bangalore Edition, October 19, 2010, p.5

[5] Gandhi, M.K., Sweepers' Strike, Why Bhangis Quarter ? ( available at http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/Vol . 090.Pdf Vol. 90: 25 February, 1946 - 19 May, 1946) (Visited on November 15, 2010)

[6] Ibid

[7] See Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writing and Speeches, Vol.7, (Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai 1990).

[8] Bhagwan Das, Main Bhangi Hoon ( Gautam Book Centre, New Delhi, 3 rd Edn., 2007); Vijay Prashad, Untouchable Freedom: A Social History of a Dalit Community (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2000); Bindeshawar Pathak, Road to Freedom ( Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi, 1991); Rama Sharma, Bhangi Scavenger in Indian Society (M.D. Publications, New Delhi, 1995); Shyamlal, The Bhangi: A Sweeper Caste (Popular Bombay, 1992); B.N., Srivastava, Coping with Degrading Works: A Disgrace to the Country (Concept Publishing, New Delhi 1977); Arun Thakur and Mohammad Khadas, Narak Safai ( RadhaKrishan Prakashan, New Delhi, 1996); Mari Marcel Thekaekara, Endless Filth: The Saga of the Bhangis ( Book for Change, Bangalore 2003); Susan E Chaplin, “Cities, sewers and Poverty: India's Politics of Sanitation”. Environment and Urbanization , Vol. 11, No. 1, (1999); Amitabh Kundu, In the Name of the Urban Poor: Access to Basic Amenities (Sage, New Delhi 1993); N.R. Malkani , Report of the Committee on Customary Rights to Scavenging , (Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi 1965); V. Venkatesan, “A Case for Human Dignity”, Frontline , Vol. 22, No. 12 (2005).

[9] Eleventh Five Years Plan 2007-12 , Planning Commission of India , p. 109 (Government of India 2008)

[10] Gita Ramaswamy, India Stinking, p. vi (Navayana , Pondicherry, 2005)

[11] Annual Report , Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (Government of India, New Delhi 2009-10) available at http://socialjustice.nic.in/srms.php (Visited on October 30, 2010)

[12] Kuksal Sunil, “Manual Scavenging: Nation's Shame”, Combat Law ,18 December (2007) available at http://www.countercurrents.org/kuksal181207.htm (Visited on October 5, 2011)

[13] The preamble which makes reference to social justice, equal opportunities and dignity has direct bearing on manual scavengers. Fundamental Rights under Part-III guarantee substantial and justifiable rights to all citizens but sections which make provision for reservations and article 17, which abolishes the practice of untouchability, are of special significance for Dalits, including manual scavengers.

[14] Section 7 A of the PCR Act, 1955 which was added through amendment in 1976 provides that whoever compels an person, on the ground of “untouchability”, to do any scavenging or sweeping or to remove any carcass or to flay any animal or to remove the umbilical cord or to do any other job of a similar nature shall be deemed to have enforced a disability arising out of “ untouchability.” The section also provides for the punishment which shall not be less than three months and not more than six months. Explanation makes clear that “compulsion” includes threat of social or economic boycott.

[15] Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tripura and West Bengal

[16] Supra note 15, p.4

[17] Quoted in Kalpana Kannabiran & Ranbir Singh, Ranbir (eds.), Challenging the Rule(s) of Law: Colonialism, Criminology and Human Rights 132 (Sage, New Delhi, 2008)

[18] Supra note 10

[19] Supra Note 13

[20] Yogendra Yadav, “Do Ankhen Do Chhavian”, BBC Hindi , November 7, 2010 available on www.bbc.co.in (Visited on October 12, 2010)

[21] Quoted in Kannabiran, & Singh, op.cit.

[22] It reads as: ‘It shall cease to have effect after 31 st day of March 1997, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such ceasser, and upon such ceasser section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, shall apply as if this Act had been repealed by a Central Act'.

[23] Supra note 11

[24] See, Annual Report 2009-2010 , Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, New Delhi, 2009) p. 32

[25] Ibid

[26] The Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 2005

[27] See full report at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/11session/CRP/A-HRC-11-CRP3.pdf (visited on 10/11/2009)

[28] See, United Nations Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Seventieth session (19 February-9 March 2007) Seventy-first session (30 July-17 August 2007) General Assembly Official Records Sixty-second session Supplement No. 18 (A/62/18). Available at http://daccess-dds ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G07/442/00/PDF/G0744200.pdf (Visited on December 12, 2009)

[29] Human Rights Watch, Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's “Untouchables ”, 1999. Available at http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1999/india/ (Visited on December 12, 2009)

[30] Human Rights Watch, India Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against India's “Untouchables”, 2007, Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Available at http,:// www.chrgj.org/docs/IndiaCERDShadowReport.pdf( visited on 2009)

[31] Ibid

[32] For detail see, http://safaikarmachariandolan.org/international.html

[33] See Education & Rehabilitation of the Children of Scavenger: A, Case Study of India's Sulabh International: A Movement to Liberate Scavengers by Implementing Low Cost Safe Sanitation System , at http://www.sulabhinternational.org/pages/education_rehabilitation

[34] See, Ending Manual Scavengers , National Human Rights Commission, Report, 1997 Available at http://nhrc.nic.in/Documents/sec-8.pdf ( visited on December 12, 2010)



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