21 Sep 2022 10:52 AM GMT
Days after taking suo motu cognizance on the deaths of two men, who died due to inhalation of toxic gases inside a sewer in city's Mundka area, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to city police and Delhi Development Authority (DDA). A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad also issued notice to National Commission for...
Days after taking suo motu cognizance on the deaths of two men, who died due to inhalation of toxic gases inside a sewer in city's Mundka area, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to city police and Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad also issued notice to National Commission for Safayi Karamchaaris.
The Bench was apprised by a counsel appearing for the Delhi Jal Board that the authority was neither liable to pay compensation in the matter nor for giving appointment to legal heir of the deceased persons.
A similar submission was advanced by the counsel representing Municipal Corporation of Delhi to the effect that the corporation was not liable to pay the compensation.
During the course of hearing, Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao, the amicus curiae in the matter, submitted that the Court was seized of two similar matters including a PIL which is listed on November 9.
"In 2017, your lordships had passed detailed directions asking the State and various authorities to come back and tell your lordships what steps they have taken to implement. The fact that they are still continuing is reflective of complete apathy, there's no other word," Rao submitted.
At the outset, the Bench was of the view that the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 as well as the Rules framed provide a clear mechanism for dealing with such incidents including the grant of compensation to the deceased.
Responding to this, Rao submitted:
"Today the prohibition is on engaging anybody without a license and to engage in manual scavenging. The Delhi Jal Board at the very least should then have a list of identified licensed persons who can do that job. The difficulty is, given the degrees of our system, private persons who own houses at times take recourse to people who are unlicensed and private contractors."
He added "What is disconcerting is the statute authorizes the Delhi Jal Board to sub contract and the licensee is responsible. The law is quite clear .. as your lordships said the State is responsible."
The matter will now be heard on September 27.
As per a PTI report, the two men who had died were Rohit Chandiliya, who worked as a sweeper at Delhi Development Authority flats and Ashok Kumar, who was a security guard.
The news report stated that while Chandiliya was the first one to go inside the sewer, he fell unconscious after inhaling the toxic gases inside. Thereafter, Kumar went inside the sewer to rescue Chandiliya but he also fell unconscious. The two men were taken to a hospital but were declared brought dead.
Recently, the Centre had informed the Delhi High Court that due to various initiatives brought in by the government, the number of tragic accidents while cleaning sewers and septic tanks have come down significantly.
The short affidavit was filed by the Central Government through its Department of Social Justice and Empowerment in a PIL filed in 2019 by Advocate Amit Sahni, seeking strict compliance of Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in order to prevent loss of lives due to manual cleaning of septic tanks and sewers.