Karnataka HC came down upon Karnataka Urban Water Supply & Drainage Board for casual approach to Manual scavenging

Karnataka High Court Law Insider
Karnataka High Court Law Insider

Greeva Garg –

The Karnataka High Court made serious comments upon the Water Supply and Drainage Board’s casual approach towards the seriousness of the issue of manual scavenging and deaths occurring from it.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj got triggered when the Board said that one of the two workers who passed inside a manhole of Kalaburagi, entered the manhole voluntarily.

“How can you take such a stand that the person entered manholes voluntarily? We are worried about the nature of the Board’s findings and approach towards the problem of manual scavenging. Are you suggesting that manual scavengers entered manholes for their pleasure,” the Court asked.

The Bench was hearing the case where two manual scavengers suffocated to death inside a manhole in Kalaburagi on January 28. Following that many petitions were filed seeking abolition of manual scavenging in the State.

As per the report of the Board to the Court, one of the two workers entered the manhole to check a problem inside it but fainted there. To help him, the second worker rushed inside and got trapped. Both of them were taken to the hospital immediately, but they died.

The Bench questioned, “How could the Board claim that the persons jumped into the hole ‘voluntarily? Why did they enter the manholes? Because they were asked to, right?” 

There was a negative comment from the side of the Board’s counsel, who asked the Court to take action against the contractor, the one who made them do so. 

The Court reported that the contract expired a few days ago and an FIR has been registered against the contractor. The Bench commented that, “So Now, no one is responsible for the two deaths? Not you (the Board), not the contractor?”

The matter will be heard next on July 6. 

Related Post