The Chairman and the Members of the Commission are appointed by the Central Government (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment).
Q. 1. Who appoints/nominates the Chairman and Members of the Commission?
Q. 2. Do the Commission have its any regional offices?
No, the Commission do not have any regional offices. However, under “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” the following States have their own State Commissions for Safai Karamcharis or any such other body designated for the purpose:
- Uttar Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Chattisgarh (State SC Commission has been designated)
- Punjab (Safai Karamcharis Welfare Board)
Q. 3. What is the rank and status of the Chairman and Members of the Commission?
The Chairman is in the rank and status of Union Minister of States whereas Members are in the rank and status of Secretary to the Government of India.
Q. 4. Is the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis a permanent body?
No, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis is a temporary non-statutory body which is given extension, usually of three years, from time to time.
Q. 5. Whether the Commission have the powers to summon officers of the establishments concerned and have their oral evidence (hearings) or can it obtain information, documents, receive evidence on affidavit, enforce attendance of a person and examine him?
No, the Commission is a non-statutory body working under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justicr and Empowerment. Being a non-statutory body, it does not enjoy the powers of civil court as is the case with other statutory bodies like National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Women etc.
Q. 6. Whether any guidelines has been issued by the Commission or any other authority for number of Safai Karamcharis to be engaged in proportion to the area of sweeping?
Neither any such guidelines have been issued by the Commission nor the Commission is aware if any such guidelines have been issued by any other authority.
Q. 7. Whether there is any compensation in case of sewer death?
When a person engaged for cleaning of sewer/septic tank dies while cleaning the same, his family/ kin are entitled to Rs. 10 lakh compensation as per Supreme Court Judgement dated 24.3.2014 in Writ Petition no. 583.
Q. 8. Whether entering sewer lines without safety gear is a crime?
Yes. The Supreme Court in its Judgement dated 24.3.2014 in Writ Petition no. 583 in Safai Karamchari Andolan & Others Vs. Union of India has stated that entering sewer lines without safety gears should be made a crime even in emergency situation.
Q. 9. Whether offence under “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” is a cognizable offence?
Yes. Every offence under “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” is a cognizable and non-bailable offence.
Q. 10. Whether engagement of a person as Manual Scavenger is a punishable offence?
Yes. Under provisions of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” engagement of a person as Manual Scavenger is a punishable offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees or both for the first contravention. Any subsequent contravention attracts imprisonment which may extend to 2 years or fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or both.
Q. 11. Who is a Manual Scavenger?
As per Section 2(g) of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013” a Manual Scavenger means a person engaged or employed by an individual or a local authority or an agency or a contractor for manually cleaning , carrying, disposing off, or otherwise handling in any manner human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit into which human excreta from the insanitary latrine is disposed of or on a railway track or in such other spaces or premises as the Central Government or State Government may notify before the excreta fully decomposes in such manner as may be prescribed and the expression ‘Manual Scavenging’ shall be construed accordingly.
Q. 12. What is the responsibility of the Central Government to which Report/recommendations have been sent by the Commission?
The Central Government shall cause the Report /recommendations to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.
Q. 13. What kind of complaints are not entertained by the Commission?
Complaints of the following nature are not entertained by the Commission and shall be rejected in limine, except when directed otherwise:
- Those not pertaining to the grievances of Safai Karamcharis/manual scavengers.
- Those pertaining to caste base discrimination/violence.
- Those concerning sub-judice matters (pending before a court/quasi judicial body).
- Those for which ordinary judicial/quasi judicial/administrative remedies are available elsewhere but have not been availed by complainant without reasonable justification.
- Those relating to events which are one year old or older.
- Those which are vague, anonymous, pseudonymous or frivolous.
- Those which are unsigned.
- Those which are not directly addressed tot eh Commission and are sent to it by way of copies addressed to any other authority.
Q. 14. What functions have been assigned to the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)?
The Commission shall perform the following functions:-
- Recommend to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis.
- Study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis; and scavengers, in particular.
- Programmes or schemes in respect of any group of Safai Karamcharis
- Decisions, guidelines or instructions, aimed at mitigating the hardships of Safai Karamcharis
- Measures for the social and economic upliftment of Safai Karamcharis
- The provisions of any law in its application to Safai Karamcharis; and take up such matters with the concerned authorities or with the Central or State Governments
- To study and monitor the working conditions, including those relating to health, safety and wages of Safai Karamcharis working under various kinds of employers including Government, Municipalities and Panchayats, and to make recommendations in this regard.
- Make reports to the Central or State Governments on any matter concerning Safai Karamcharis, taking into account any difficulties or disabilities being encountered by Safai Karamcharis
- Any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government.
With the enactment of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013”, the mandate and scope of the Commission has also been enlarged. As per Section 31(1) of the said Act, the Commission shall perform the following functions, namely:-
- To monitor the implementation of the Act.
- To enquire into complaints regarding contravention of the provisions of the Act, and to convey its findings to the concerned authorities with recommendations requiring further action.
- To advise the Central and the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
- To take suomotu notice of matter relating to non-implementation of the Act.
Q. 15. What action does Commission take to fulfill the above mandate?
The Commission has adopted the following procedure to accomplish its mandate:-
- The Commission seeks reports from concerned authorities on the representations received by it from the target group and make suitable recommendations in order to resolve the grievance.
- Seeking information from State/UT Governments, Municipalities, PSU, etc. on implementation of the M.S. Act, 2013 and outcomes.
- The Commission visits the States/UTs and meet the State Govt. /Distt. Officialsto take up the matters related to their respective States/Districts.
- The Commission also visits those places which are inhabited by safai Karamcharis and meet their leaders, representatives, social organisations and individuals to know their problems, and obtain suggestions on development /welfare.
Q. 16. What powers have been vested with the Commission?
In the discharge of its functions, the Commission have the powers to call for information with respect to any matter specified above from any Government or local or other authority.