Published on: 25 November 2022 at 22:12 IST
The Delhi High Court directed the Delhi government to ensure strict compliance of the statutory provisions contained in the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and the rules framed under the enactment.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramaniam Prasad directed the Delhi government to take into account various recommendations submitted by the Delhi Commission for Safai Karamcharis (DCSK) from time to time and take a decision on any such recommendation within 60 days takes is being made.
The court passed the direction while disposing of a PIL filed by social activist and former DCSK chairman Harnam Singh raising concerns regarding the facilities and conditions provided to various sanitation workers in the national capital.
Apart from seeking directions for compliance of laws including the National Safai Karamcharis Act Commission, the plea has also sought health insurance and medical facilities for Safai Karamcharis and their families.
The bench took note of the counter affidavit filed by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis and the Central Government, which stated that the Commission, vide letter dated November 14, 2020, directed all District Magistrates or District Commissioners to furnish details of all Safai Karamcharis who was, which are lost. Details of his life and compensation given to him due to COVID-19.
The court was also apprised of the safety measures and measures taken for the safety of the staff, including details about the training to be given to the cleaning staff, their vaccinations and their residential arrangements.
The respondent authorities also informed the court that the benefits extended to health care workers were also extended to sanitation workers posted in Delhi government health institutions without any discrimination.
Noting that DCSK is investigating, examining and monitoring all matters relating to the safeguards to be provided to sanitation workers residing in the national capital, the court said, “The recommendations of the Commission are forwarded to the GNCTD, and therefore, this Court is of the opinion that the DCSK – as prayed for by the petitioner, is discharging its responsibilities keeping in view the Delhi Act 7 of 2006.”
The court thus observed that the Delhi government “has no other option” but to invoke the statutory provisions under the 2013 Act and the relevant rules.
The court said, “In light of the above, no further order is required to be passed in the present PIL. It is disposed of accordingly,”