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PROHIBITION OF EMPLOYMENT AS MANUAL SCAVENGERS AND THEIR REHABILITATION ACT, 2013

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 25 of 2013


  • Chapter I. Preliminary
  • Chapter II. Identification of Insanitary Latrines
  • Chapter III. Prohibition of Insanitary Latrines and Employment and Engagement as Manual Scavenger
  • Chapter IV. Identification of Manual Scavengers in Urban and Rural Areas and their Rehabilitation
  • Chapter V. Implementing Authorities
  • Chapter VI. Procedure for Trial
  • Chapter VII. Vigilance Committees
  • Chapter VIII. Miscellaneous
  • Act nº 25 of 2013

Preamble

THE PROHIBITION OF EMPLOYMENT AS MANUAL SCAVENGERS AND THEIR REHABILITATION ACT, 2013

[Act No. 25 of 2013]

[18th September, 2013]

PREAMBLE

(An Act to provide for the prohibition of employment as manual scavengers, rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their families, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.)

Whereas promoting among the citizens fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual is enshrined as one of the goals in the Preamble to the Constitution;

And whereas the right to live with dignity is also implicit in the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in Part HI of the Constitution;

And whereas article 46 of the Constitution, inter alia, provides that the State shall protect the weaker sections, and, particularly, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes from social injustice and all forms of exploitation;

And whereas the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging, arising from the continuing existence of insanitary latrines and a highly iniquitous caste system, still persists in various parts of the country, and the existing laws have not proved adequate in eliminating the twin evils of insanitary latrines and manual scavenging;

And whereas it is necessary to correct the historical injustice and indignity suffered by the manual scavengers, and to rehabilitate them to a life of dignity.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-fourth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

Chapter I
Preliminary

Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint:

Provided that the date so notified shall not be earlier than sixty days after the date of publication of the notification in the Official Gazette.

Section 2. Definitions

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(a) "agency" means any agency, other than a local authority, which may undertake sanitation facilities in an area and includes a contractor or a firm or a company which engages in development and maintenance of real estate;

(b) "appropriate government", in relation to Cantonment Boards, railway lands, and lands and buildings owned by the Central Government, a Central Public Sector Undertaking or an autonomous body wholly or substantially funded by the Central Government, means the Central Government and in all other cases, the State Government;

(c) "Chief Executive Officer", in relation to a Municipality or Panchayat, means, its senior-most executive officer, by whatever name called;

(d) "hazardous cleaning" by an employee, in relation to a sewer or septic tank, means its manual cleaning by such employee without the employer fulfilling his obligations to provide protective gear and other cleaning devices and ensuring observance of safety precautions, as may be prescribed or provided in any other law, for the time being in force or rules made thereunder;

(e) "insanitary latrine" means a latrine which requires human excreta to be cleaned or otherwise handled manually, either in situ, or in an open drain or pit into which the excreta is discharged or flushed out, before the excreta fully decomposes in such manner as may be prescribed:

Provided that a water flush latrine in a railway passenger coach, when cleaned by an employee with the help of such devices and using such protective gear, as the Central Government may notify in this behalf, shall not be deemed to be an insanitary latrine.

(f) "local authority" means,--

(i) a Municipality or a Panchayat, as defined in clause (e) and clause (f) of article 243P of the Constitution, which is responsible for sanitation in its area of jurisdiction;

(ii) a Cantonment Board constituted under section 10 of the Cantonments Act, 2006(41 of 2006); and

(iii) a railway authority;

(g) "manual scavenger" means a person engaged or employed, at the commencement of this Act or at any time thereafter, by an individual or a local authority or an agency or a contractor, for manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling in any manner, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit into which the human excreta from the insanitary latrines is disposed of, or on a railway track or in such other spaces or premises, as the Central Government or a State Government may notify, before the excreta fully decomposes in such manner as may be prescribed, and the expression "manual scavenging" shall be construed accordingly.

Explanation.--For the purpose of this clause,--

(a) "engaged or employed" means being engaged or employed on a regular or contract basis;

(b) a person engaged or employed to clean excreta with the help of such devices and using such protective gear, as the Central Government may notify in this behalf, shall not be deemed to be a 'manual scavenger';

(h) "National Commission for Safai Karamacharis" means the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis constituted under section 3 of the National Commission for Safai Karamacharis Act, 1993(64 of 1993) and continued by Resolution of the Government of India in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment vide No. 17015/18/2003-SCD-VI, dated 24th February, 2004 and as amended from time to time;

(i) "notification" means a notification published in the Official Gazette and the expression "notify" shall be construed accordingly;

(j) "occupier", in relation to the premises where an insanitary latrine exists, or someone is employed as a manual scavenger, means the person who, for the time being, is in occupation of such premises;

(k) "owner", in relation to the premises where an insanitary latrine exists or someone is employed as a manual scavenger, means, the person who, for the time being has legal title to such premises;

(l) "prescribed" means prescribed by the rules made under this Act;

(m) "railway authority" means an authority administering railway land, as may be notified by the Central Government in this behalf;

(n) "railway land" shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (32A) of section 2 of the Railways Act, 1989(24 of 1989);

(o) "sanitary latrine" means a latrine which is not an 'insanitary latrine';

(p) "septic tank" means a water-tight settling tank or chamber, normally located underground, which is used to receive and hold human excreta, allowing it to decompose through bacterial activity;

(q) "sewer" means an underground conduit or pipe for carrying off human excreta, besides other waste matter and drainage wastes;

(r) "State Government", in relation to a Union territory, means the Administrator thereof appointed under article 239 of the Constitution;

(s) "survey" means a survey of manual scavengers undertaken in pursuance of section 11 or section 14.

(2) Words and expressions used and not defined in this Act, but defined in the Cantonments Act, 2006(41 of 2006), shall have the same meanings respectively assigned to them in that Act.

(3) The reference to a Municipality under Chapters IV to VIII of this Act shall include a reference to, as the case may be, the Cantonment Board or the railway authority, in respect of areas included within the jurisdiction of the Cantonment Board and the railway land, respectively.

Section 3. Act to have overriding effect

The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993(46 of 1993) or in any other law, or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any other law.

Chapter II
Identification of Insanitary Latrines

Section 4. Local authorities to survey insanitary latrines and provide sanitary community latrines

(1) Every local authority shall,--

(a) carry out a survey of insanitary latrines existing within its jurisdiction, and publish a list of such insanitary latrines, in such manner as may be prescribed, within a period of two months from the date of commencement of this Act;

(b) give a notice to the occupier, within fifteen days from the date of publication of the list under clause (a), to either demolish the insanitary latrine or convert it into a sanitary latrine, within a period of six months from the date of commencement of this Act:

Provided that the local authority may for sufficient reasons to be recorded in writing extend the said period not exceeding three months;

(c) construct, within a period not exceeding nine months from the date of commencement of this Act, such number of sanitary community latrines as it considers necessary, in the areas where insanitary latrines have been found.

(2) Without prejudice to the provisions contained in sub-section (1), Municipalities, Cantonment Boards and railway authorities shall also construct adequate number of sanitary community latrines, within such period not exceeding three years from the date of commencement of this Act, as the appropriate Government may, by notification, specify, so as to eliminate the practice of open defecation in their jurisdiction.

(3) It shall be the responsibility of local authorities to construct community sanitary latrines as specified in sub-sections (1) and (2), and also to make arrangements for their hygienic upkeep at all times.

Explanation.--For the purposes of this section, "community" in relation to railway authorities means passengers, staff and other authorised users of railways.

Chapter III
Prohibition of Insanitary Latrines and Employment and Engagement as Manual Scavenger

Section 5. Prohibition of insanitary latrines and employment and engagement of manual scavenger

(1) Notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993(46 of 1993), no person, local authority or any agency shall, after the date of commencement of this Act,--

(a) construct an insanitary latrine; or

(b) engage or employ, either directly or indirectly, a manual scavenger, and every person so engaged or employed shall stand discharged immediately from any obligation, express or implied, to do manual scavenging.

(2) Every insanitary latrine existing on the date of commencement of this Act, shall either be demolished or be converted into a sanitary latrine, by the occupier at his own cost, before the expiry of the period so specified in clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 4:

Provided that where there are several occupiers in relation to an insanitary latrine, the liability to demolish or convert it shall lie with,--

(a) the owner of the premises, in case one of the occupiers happens to be the owner; and

(b) all the occupiers, jointly and severally, in all other cases:

Provided that the State Government may give assistance for conversion of insanitary latrines into sanitary latrines to occupiers from such categories of persons and on such scale, as it may, by notification, specify:

Provided further that non-receipt of State assistance shall not be a valid ground to maintain or use an insanitary latrine, beyond the said period of nine months.

(3) If any occupier fails to demolish an insanitary latrine or convert it into a sanitary latrine within the period specified in sub-section (2), the local authority having jurisdiction over the area in which such insanitary latrine is situated, shall, after giving notice of not less than twenty one days to the occupier, either convert such latrine into a sanitary latrine, or demolish such insanitary latrine, and shall be entitled to recover the cost of such conversion or, as the case may be, of demolition, from such occupier in such manner as may be prescribed.

Section 6. Contract, agreement, etc., to be void

(1) Any contract, agreement or other instrument entered into or executed before the date of commencement of this Act, engaging or employing a person for the purpose of manual scavenging shall, on the date of commencement of this Act, be terminated and such contract, agreement or other instrument shall be void and inoperative and no compensation shall be payable therefor.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no person employed or engaged as a manual scavenger on a full-time basis shall be retrenched by his employer, but shall be retained, subject to his willingness, in employment on at least the same emoluments, and shall be assigned work other than manual scavenging.

Section 7. Prohibition of persons from engagement or employment for hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks

No person, local authority or any agency shall, from such date as the State Government may notify, which shall not be later than one year from the date of commencement of this Act, engage or employ, either directly or indirectly, any person for hazardous cleaning of a sewer or a septic tank.

Section 8. Penalty for contravention of section 5 or section 6

Whoever contravenes the provisions of section 5 or section 6 shall for the first contravention be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees or with both, and for any subsequent contravention with imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 9. Penalty for contravention of section 7

Whoever contravenes the provisions of section 7 shall for the first contravention be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees or with both, and for any subsequent contravention with imprisonment which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 10. Limitation of prosecution

No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except upon a complaint thereof is made by a person in this behalf within three months from the date of the occurrence of the alleged commission of the offence.

Chapter IV
Identification of Manual Scavengers in Urban and Rural Areas and their Rehabilitation