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Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, handling in any manner, the human excretory product from dry latrines and sewers. It typically involves using the foremost basic of tools like buckets, brooms and baskets.

Manual scavenging is connected to India’s class structure (Dalits) wherever questionable lower castes were expected to perform this job. Manual scavengers are amongst the poorest and most underprivileged communities in India. In 1997, India prohibited the utilization of individuals as manual scavengers.

In 2013, new legislation within the variety of Manual Scavengers Act was passed that seeks to bolster this ban by prohibiting manual scavenging all together forms and rehabilitation of manual scavengers to be known through a compulsory survey.




Despite progress, manual scavenging persists in India. In step with India’s 2011 census, there were 2.6 million dry latrines within the country. Their area unit 13,14,652 bathrooms wherever human body waste is flushed in open drains and 7,94,390 dry latrines wherever the human excretory product is clean manually. 73% of those area units is of the rural area and rest 27% is of the urban area.

According to the House Listing and Housing Census 2011, states like Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal accounts for 72% of the unhygienic latrines in India.




The Government of India has adopted two-pronged strategies, first being the elimination of unhygienic latrines through demolition and conversion into hygienic latrines, and developing a comprehensive rehabilitation package for manual scavengers through a survey.

However, manual scavenging for several might have terminated as a variety of employment, the stigma and discrimination related to it lingers on, creating in troublesome for former or liberated manual scavengers to secure alternate livelihoods and raising the worry that folks may all over again come back to manual scavenging within the absence of different opportunities to support their families.

Properly characteristic manual scavengers remains a key challenge. A comprehensive rehabilitation package has recently been placed along with that of featured livelihoods and ability developments, access to education for kids of former manual scavengers and alternate livelihood.




The practice of manual scavenging is really prohibited in India. Numerous laws have outlawed the practice for the last 60 years.

  1. The Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955) created its associate offence to compel any individual to practice manual scavenging.
  2. The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act (1993) disciplined the utilization of manual scavengers or the development of dry latrines with imprisonment for up to at least 1 year and/ or a fine of Rs. 2000/.
  3. The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (2013) outdated the 1993 Act and outlaws all sorts of manual scavenging (beyond simply dry latrines), prescribing penalties for people who uphold the practice and protective people who have interaction in it.  As per Section 2 (1) (g), Manual Scavenger means a person engaged or employed, at the commencement of this Act or anytime thereafter, by an individual or a local authority or a local authority or an agency or a contractor, for manually cleaning, carrying deposit of, or otherwise handling in any manner, human excreta from the insanity latrines is dispose of, or on a railway track or in such other space or premises, as Central Government or State Government may notify, before the excreta fully decomposed in such manner as it is also prescribed and therefore the  expression “ Manual Scavenging” shall be construed consequently.
  1. The 2013 Rehabilitation Act additionally commits to proving alternate livelihoods and alternative help (Such as money payments, scholarships for kids, housing and alternative legal and programmatic assistance) to assist rehabilitate former manual scavengers. However, it is up to the State and Native Governments to enforce these rules- an equivalent establishment that have did not enforce the previous laws to outlaw manual scavenging.




India has allocated resources to modernize sanitation. National Sanitation Scheme aimed at modernizing human waste management which includes the Integrated Development of Small and Medium Scale (1969), Sulabh Shauchalaya (Simple Latrines/ Toilets) Scheme (1974), the Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme (1981), the Low Cost Sanitation for Liberation of Manual Scavengers Scheme (1989) and the Total Sanitation Campaign (1999) which was further renamed as Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign).

These sanitation schemes haven’t, however, succeeded in remodelling India’s waste matter disposal system consisting with the most recent information from World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), India has over 792 million individuals while not access to improved sanitation nearly a 3rd of the calculable 2.5 billion individuals while not sanitation globally.

India conjointly leads as a global home to over 0.5 of all the individuals within the world who follows open elimination, associates in nursing, calculable 597 million people. Despite creating smart strides in increasing the number of individuals with improved access to water, India has lagged behind in meeting its Millennium Development Goal related to sanitation. Parasitic diseases and infections like Tuberculosis (T.B.) that square measure coupled to poor sanitation and significantly open elimination, moreover, contribute to aerobatics and cognitive deficits amongst youngsters and increase rates of kid morality.

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Post written by-
Gurmeet Singh Jaggi
Delhi Metropolitan Education, GGSIPU
BBA LLB (Hons.)

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