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Saturday, September 8, 2012

writ petition against manual scavenging in Trumec Engineering Co.

Our some leaders bark like dogs. They are great orators. But, when you ask them about their strategy, they will say we will reveal our strategy after some time. In fact, they do not have any strategy at all. This system is like an elephant. You have to take an ankush (अंकुश) and ride the elephant. Barking dogs will never upset elephant. Here, we produce some of the most fascinating stories of those warriors who simply deny barking and trying to ride the elephant and deliver justice at the door of victims. 
writ petition against manual scavenging in Trumec Engineering Co.
Year 1999. Justice H L Gokhale of the Gujarat High Court issued notices to state of Gujarat, commissioner of Labour, Chief Factory Inspector, National Commission for Safai Karmachari and Trumac Engineering Co. Ltd. in a petition field by 40 sweepers, who were forced to carry manually human excreta in the company. The workers contacted Council for Social Justice (CSJ) which convinced them that legal solution was possible.

According to the petitioners, the Trumac Engineering Co. Ltd. is manufacturing textile and other machinery in collaboration with German company. It engages about 300 workers besides about 300 other members of the staff. 38 petitioners mostly belong to Scheduled Caste have been working in the company from 2 to 7 years. Though they are doing the regular work of the company, they are treated as contract workers. The company has 25 to 30 latrines and equal number of urinals which are contract workers. The company has 25 to 30 latrines and equal number of urinals which are connected with 8 cess pools. These cess pools are connected with a big tank outside the premises of the company. There are no dry latrines and when the cess pools and tanks are full with human excreta, the sweepers are required to remove them manually and to enter in to the tank for cleaning it. The workers and council for Social Justice made number of representations to the authorities to stop this practice but nothing was done and, therefore, ultimately was constrained to approach the High Court.

Mr. Girish Patel appearing with Anand Yagnik contended that such a modern company can not be permitted to engage human beings to carry the manual scavenging work. This is atrocious and destructive of human dignity. Such in- human practice has been prohibited by the Employment of Manual Scavengers Constructions of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 which has been brought in to force in Gujarat with effect from 25-1-97. Only recently the Division Bench of the Gujarat observed that an operation should be carried on a war-footing at least in thee 50th year of our independence in Gujarat and this evil system of manual scavenging which is a dehumanizing and indemnified practice should be abolished in totality. 50 years is too long a period. It must be attended that agency and sensitivity with this evil does not prevail any where in Gujarat, and that such system is totally eradicated. The High Court had, therefore, directed the Government to see that a time bound schedule is prepared for abolishing this evil practice the Government and to appoint a high level committee immediately. In spite of this direction of this High Court, the evil practice has continued. The practice by the company is, therefore, violation of Art. 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Hon’ble Justice Gokhale, therefore, directed the company to explain as to what steps they intend to take stop this kind of manual activity by human beings. The Court has also directed that the company shall not discontinue the services of the petitioners.

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