"We believe that some strict action has to be taken in order to sensitise the Sanitary Workers about the need to wear the protective equipments for their own safety, as well for the well-being of their families."
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Madurai Corporation to take prompt action against the Sanitary workers who are found working in the public domain without observing proper safety mechanism, including wearing of masks and gloves.
The bench comprising of Justices PN Prakash and B Pugalendhi said,
"We direct that the Sanitary Supervisors should also ensure that the Sanitary Workers wear the boots apart from masks and gloves while working in market places and report violations, if any, to the Zonal Officers concerned immediately by sending Whatsapp images, so that, the Zonal Officers can take appropriate action against the Sanitary Worker concerned."
The direction was made in the backdrop of a submission made by the City Health Officer that the Sanitary Workers are not as "sensitive" to the situation and they work without wearing protective gears, despite the fact that the Corporation had supplied them with adequate protective equipments.
The court was hearing a PIL highlighting the plight of the Sanitary Workers in various local bodies, urging the Court to direct all the city corporations in the state to provide minimum protective equipments, like mask, gloves, shoes, etc., to the workers.
Taking exception to the present state of affairs the bench remarked,
The bench has further directed that the Helpline number provided by the Madurai Corporation for the public to ventilate their grievances should also be put to use for taking complaints against Sanitary Workers who do not observe adequate precautions.
"We believe that this Helpline can also be resorted to by any member of the public to inform the Corporation authorities if they find any Sanitary Worker in a particular area working without protective equipments," the bench said.
In addition to the above, the City Health Officer assured the Court that the Sanitary Supervisors will conduct inspection at least thrice in each Ward and report to the Zonal Officers concerned if they find any Sanitary Worker working without mask and gloves.
Before parting, the bench observed the plight of about 2,500 workers in the Drainage Wing of the Corporation and directed the City Engineer, Drainage Wing, Madurai Corporation, to be present before the Court on the next date of hearing.
The matter is now listed for June 8, 2020.
Case No.: WP (MD) Nos. 6143 and 6347 of 2020
Quorum: Justice PN Prakash and Justice B Pugalendhi
Appearance: Advocates Henri Tiphagne and VM Balamohan Thambi (for Petitioners); Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian assisted by Special Government Pleader R. Sethuraman (for State); Standing Counsel R. Murali (for Madurai Corporation)
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