Karnataka government and local bodies under the State should ensure that manual scavenging if done for cleaning sewers manually, should be carried out in strict compliance with the laws and rules in force, the Karnataka High Court ordered on Monday. .A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum, said that the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (2013 Act) and the Rules framed under the Act lays down process for cleaning sewers of septic tank."Rules have also been framed under the Act of 2013, known as Provisions of employment as manual scavengers and their rehabilitation rules and rule 3 provides for process for cleaning sewer of septic tank. The persons who have lost their lives were certainly not wearing air purifier gas mask and they were not properly equipped and therefore the State government and all local bodies of the state government are directed to ensure that in case a sewer has to be cleaned manually, no cleaning will take place without following statutory provisions under the act and the rules, especially from rule 3 to 8," the order said. The Court also lamented that the law was being flouted repeatedly by State government and local bodies. "It is unfortunate that even when the act is in existence, its provisions are being violated by local bodies by the state state government or by the contractors appointed by the local bodies.".The Court was hearing a plea to put an end to manual scavenging in the State, in violation of The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (2013 Act) and related rules. .During the hearing on Monday, the Court pointed out that the statutory provisions contained in the 2013 Act provide for rehabilitation of manual scavengers. However, for the purpose of rehabilitation of manual scavengers, the survey has not been completed yet, noted the Court. Towards this end, the Court directed the State government to file a detailed report and further inform the reasons as to why the survey has not been completed yet. .Are you suggesting two manual scavengers entered manholes for pleasure? Karnataka High Court asks Water Supply and Drainage Board .With regard to the deaths of two manual scavengers in Kalaburagi, a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each was provided to their families, the State government told the Court. The Court was further apprised that casual appointments were also granted to legal heirs of the two deceased workers..The Bench, however, observed that the State has not taken steps for rehabilitation of the family members. "Section 13 of the Act states that there are large number of steps which are required to be undertaken by state government," the Court said.Further, the Court said that the deaths had taken place in January 2021 but no steps have been taken yet for the allotment of residential plots, financial assistance for construction of houses etc. "Section 13 provides for allotment of residential plot and financial assistance for construction of house and provides for scholarship to children and a one-time cash assistance. There are other steps which are also required to be undertaken by state government. Except for granting 10 lakh and a causal employment (daily wages) nothing is being done," the Bench noted. .The Court also considered the Ramanagara incident which took place on June 4, 2021, in which three sanitation workers had died when engaged in manual scavenging. The Court was told that FIR has been registered in the matter and investigation is ongoing. Therefore, a time period of 30 days time was granted for completing the investigation. .The government also informed the Court that it has paid Rs 10 lakh compensation to families of the three workers."However other steps are not been taken as provided in section 13 of the Act", Court noted. .Since the District Magistrate of the concerned district is responsible for rehabilitation of manual scavengers, the Court directed the District Magistrates of both Kalaburagi and Ramanagara to remain present before the Court on October 4. In case statutory provisions are complied with in the meantime, a compliance memo should be filed reporting compliance of Section 13 of the Act, the Court further said..The Court also cautioned District Magistrates of contempt of court proceedings in case of non-compliance."It shall be duty of district magistrate to create awareness among all officers of local bodies for ensuring compliance to the statutory provisions which are contained in the act and rules."The State government was also directed to file a detailed chart in respect of the equipment (for cleaning sewers) which are provided under the rules, their availability in various local bodies and to ensure that they are made available to the local bodies. ."The act provides that it is it is duty of the district magistrates of the respective districts to ensure compliance of the act of 2013. Therefore, this order is passed directing district magistrates for reporting compliance of the Act," the order said. .The matter will be next heard on October 3. .In December 2020, the High Court had issued a slew of directions to ensure the proper implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (Manual Scavengers Act)..However, the death of the two manual scavengers in January 2021 in Kalaburagi had prompted the Court to once again take cognizance of the issue with the Bench observing in February that the State Government has failed to implement provisions of the Act.