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Karnataka HC Take Cognisance Of Media Report On Manual Scavenging In Karnataka, Says It Is 'Shame On Humanity'

A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit appointed advocate Sridhar Prabhu as amicus curiae and directed him to file a public interest litigation (PIL) with the Registry, which will place it before the bench for hearing on January 8.

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Karnataka High Court
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The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday took cognizance of a newspaper report on prevalence of manual scavenging in the state and termed it as a “shame on humanity”.

A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit appointed advocate Sridhar Prabhu as amicus curiae and directed him to file a public interest litigation (PIL) with the Registry, which will place it before the bench for hearing on January 8.

The court remarked that the incidents mentioned in the report shook its conscience.

“After more than 60 years still somebody who is our brother in society merely due to his misfortune, he took birth in a particular community, carrying the stamp of one caste is required to do these things. Is it not a shame on humanity? Is this what we all are here for?” it asked.

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Though the country is proud of its technical advancements, the bench said there is no change in the mindset of people.

“Why are we making our brothers do these things when there are technical advancements to clean the pits but there is no change in the mindset?” 

Machines could be employed for manual scavenging which cost only Rs 2,000 per hour, the bench pointed out.

Referring to ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 mission, the bench said, “You can't sleep with this. You just can't be concentrating or anything when these things are still happening in society when on one hand, for rightful reasons, we say we reached the moon just two months back. We are proud of it. Same time, we are not treating our brothers as human beings," 

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"Is it not a shame? Is this what we all are here for? Merely because somebody is facing financial difficulty is he to lead a life as bad as an animal?” the Court questioned.

Quoting Ramon Magsaysay award winner and an activist fighting to eliminate manual scavenging, the HC said, “Today a person residing in the smallest villages in Karnataka is aware of Swach Bharat Abhiyan, but people still say they know nothing of the manual scavenging Act." "What happened in Kolar is a crime. The government should stop the caste drama. The Constitution also says there should be no discrimination. Malur was only a representation of what was happening on the ground. In 2023 alone, there have been 93 deaths of manual scavengers across India,” it added.

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