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Find Out If Manhole Worker Who Killed Himself Was Forced To Do Manual Scavenging : Karnataka High Court Directs State

Mustafa Plumber
27 March 2021 7:05 AM GMT
Find Out If Manhole Worker Who Killed Himself Was Forced To Do Manual Scavenging : Karnataka High Court Directs State

The Karnataka High Court has directed the State Government to ascertain if Narayana, a contract labourer of the Urban Development Department who killed himself in January, was forced to do manual scavenging.

Reportedly, the pourakarmika of Maddur Town Municipality killed himself after being forced to clean a manhole without safety equipment.

With respect to the tragedy, the a bench headed by the Chief Justice Abhay S Oka said :

"The State Government has submitted a compliance report signed by the Under Secretary to the State Government, (Municipal Administration), Urban Development Department. It is true that a First Information Report has been registered. But it contains an allegation that Shri Narayana committed suicide. The allegation made in the memo is that he was forced to do acts of manual scavenging."

It added:

"The State Government, in the compliance report, has over-simplified the whole issue by stating that the provisions of the said Act of 2013, will not apply. It is the duty of the State to ascertain irrespective of the outcome of the police investigation whether the said deceased was compelled to do manual scavenging. Even if it is found that there is a substance in the said allegation, those who are involved in pressuring him to do manual scavenging should be brought to book. We, therefore, direct the State Government to file on record the steps taken in this behalf on or before the next date."

On Friday, (March 26) the police submitted a chargesheet filed under section 304 (II), r/w section 34 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 8, 9 and 22 of the Act, against the accused alleged to be involved into the deaths of --- Lal Ahmed (30) and Rasheed Ahmed (25), on January 28. The two were working as labourers with the authority and were allegedly being made to do manual scavenging. It also directed Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board which had employed the deceased to conduct an independent inquiry into the incident apart from the police investigation and submit a report to the court on the next date of hearing.

The matter will be next heard on April 20.
Earlier, on March 1, the High Court had expressed displeasure at the enquiry held by the Executive Engineer of the Department with respect to the deaths and sought for a report from the Secretary of the Department.

Click here to read/download the order

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