The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013: A Decade of Exclusion

  • Madhumitha Shankar
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  • Madhumitha Shankar

    Student at National Law University, Delhi, India

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The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act was passed in 2013 to eradicate the practice of manual scavenging, which is a form of forced labour imposed on the members of the lowest caste in the hierarchical caste system in India.. An examination of the Act a decade later exposes its exclusionary nature. The rationale behind the framing of the 2013 act is inherently problematic because it imposes homogeneity on a group that is vastly diverse. The act assumes that the typical manual scavenger is a male Hindu Dalit who is engaged in the cleaning of sewers and dry latrines. This assumption pervades the provisions of the act, making it exclusionary towards women, casual manual scavengers who are not employed regularly or on contract-basis, Christian and Muslim Dalits who are engaged in manual scavenging, people employed to clean community and public toilets, schools, households etc who come in contact with faeces, and former manual scavengers who are not successfully rehabilitated. This is because of the restrictive definition, lack of gender-neutral pronouns and the exceptions provided in the act. The research seeks to find out what the act’s idea and vision of a manual scavenger is, and thereby prove that the vision is distorted and decontextualized.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 4, Page 2099 - 2112


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