“to abolish the hazardous and demeaning practice of handling the E-waste in the informal sector, no one should be involved in life hazardous and demeaning handling of E-waste just for roti.”
In India, about 90% of E-waste is handled by the informal sectors which are mostly done by the lower strata of the society without any safety measures. It is a clear violation of Article 17 and Article 21 of the Indian constitution. When the constitution of India came into effect both Articles 17 and 21 also came into force. Article 17 came as civil rights for the annihilation of caste and division of class in the country. Article 21 is the protection wall for the human right which is the right to life. Although they look alluring and demonstrate welfare on paper, it is contrary to society. When the informal sector’s workers handle toxic substances, it drags them to severe diseases and death when they come into direct contact with those toxic substances. The workers involved don’t acknowledge the extent of danger to their life when handled by their exposed bodies. The Varma system in ancient India forced the lower strata to manual scavenging which is pervasive till today and now in modern times, due to working in filthy environments, the upper strata has developed hate and repugnance for lower strata causing untouchability as most of the workers belong to the latter. The informal sector of E-waste handlers can be called the modern form of manual scavengers. India has not been able to abolish manual scavenging despite The Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. The new form of manual scavenging should be abolished before it blossoms. State under the constitutional obligation needs to protect Article 17 and Article 21.