In Court

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Rights battle: There's hope in sight for manual scavengers. The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Union government as well as all the states and union territories in response to a petition seeking an end to manual scavenging in the country. The petition was filed by the Safai Karamchari Andolan, a non-governmental organisation, along with 13 other organisations and individuals.

They wanted all the states and union territories to pass a legislation under Article 252 of the Constitution, which ensures rehabilitation for manual scavengers. The petitioners argued that this occupation deprived the people of basic human rights enshrined in Article 14 (equality before law), Article 17 (abolition of untouchability) and Article 23 (right against exploitation) of the Constitution.

Justice S N Variava and Justice H K Sema issued the notices. The Union ministries of railways, defence and industry were the primary violators because they engaged contract labourers as scavengers, the petitioners contended. It is estimated that over 12 lakh people are engaged in this occupation.

kept at bay: A Federal Judge of Argentina has banned a US ship containing nuclear waste from entering the country's territorial waters. Judge Jorge Pflejer decided in favour of a suit filed by the state government in Chabut, southern Argentina. Environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Taller Ecologista provided the information to the state authorities.

The court documents presented by Chabut state attorney Jorge Miquelarena said that the US ship wanted to sail around Cape Horn, carrying in it waste from a dismantled nuclear reactor.

The trip from California around Cape Horn, at the southern tip of Chile and Argentina, and up to the Carolinas is about 20,000 kilometres. "The goal is not only to keep the boat out of our ports, but also out of Argentine waters," attorney Miquelarena said.

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