HC seeks Delhi govt’s response on compensation to kin of deceased manual scavengers

The Aam Aadmi Party Government was directed by the Delhi High Court on Friday to file an affidavit regarding the compensation payment to the two safai staffers who recently died during manual scavenging.

Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked for the clarification whether the compensation of Rs 10 lakh provided was on Supreme Court’s order or a different scheme and is being provided to every employee dying due to similar incidents.

Before passing the order, the High Court had taken suo-moto cognisance of media reports which were about the number of deaths due to manual scavenging. Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao was appointed as the amicus curiae in this case. The court then issued notice against the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and others, returnable within one week.

Earlier, the Delhi Development Authority was told to provide Rs 10 lakh compensations to kin of people who died while cleaning a clogged sewer. The HC had said, “It is very unfortunate that even after 75 years of Independence, people are being used as manual scavengers.”

Initially, the HC was informed by the Central government that the casualties during sewer and septic tank cleaning had decreased and now they are focusing on the ban on manual scavenging.

The Centre had earlier submitted a short affidavit through its Department of Social Justice and Empowerment as a response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by Advocate Amit Sahni in 2019, seeking strict compliance with the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

Moreover, in 2019, the SC on a plea had stated, “The Manual Scavengers are subjected to inhuman working conditions by being exposed to diseased sewages and pits; wherein the said scavengers are forced to work without any protective gears. The aforementioned unsafe working conditions result in either the manual scavengers contracting chronic or acute diseases or suffering injuries, for which no medical-care facilities are in place; or may result in the unfateful and untimely demise of the manual scavengers, wherein in the majority of the cases even compensation by the concerned state is not awarded to the next of kin.”




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