Delhi HC orders ₹30 lakh compensation to kin of 3 deceased sanitation workers | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Delhi HC orders 30 lakh compensation to kin of 3 deceased sanitation workers

May 19, 2024 04:02 PM IST

Delhi HC orders ₹30 lakh compensation to kin of 3 deceased sanitation workers

New Delhi, The Delhi High Court has directed the city authorities to pay 30 lakh compensation each to the families of three sanitation workers who died during manual scavenging in 2017.

Delhi HC orders <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>30 lakh compensation to kin of 3 deceased sanitation workers
Delhi HC orders 30 lakh compensation to kin of 3 deceased sanitation workers

The HC allowed the petition by the family members seeking higher ex gratia in accordance with a Supreme Court order in 2023 which increased the compensation payable to the dependents of the victims who lost their lives in manual scavenging to 30 lakh from the existing 10 lakh.

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The family members said in the petition that the three sanitation workers died in August 2017 while cleaning a drain in Lajpat Nagar. The plea said the deceased were engaged by a Delhi Jal Board sub-contractor.

The petitioners said that after they died, a compensation of 10 lakh was awarded to the family members. However, they prayed that the amount be increased to 30 lakh.

"It can be seen that the directions issued by the Supreme Court were expressly made applicable to all the statutory bodies including corporations, railways, cantonments as well as the agencies under its control.

"Moreover, the Union and State governments were directed to ensure that the rehabilitation measures were taken with respect to sewage workers, including the family of those who have lost their lives. Specifically, it was directed that the compensation of 10 lakh that was given to the family members of the deceased workers be enhanced to 30 lakh," Justice Sachin Datta said.

The high court said necessarily, the ameliorative directions, strictures and the embargo imposed by the Supreme Court are applicable to the Delhi Jal Board as also to any agency that may be engaged by the board within any part of Delhi in connection with the work relating to the collection of sewage or carrying out connected works.

"Any disregard or violation thereto would invite strict consequences" as envisaged in the apex court verdict, it said.

Considering the reasoning given by the apex court, it would be a travesty if the entitlement of the family members of the deceased scavenging workers is confined to 10 lakh, the high court said.

"The same would defeat the directions of the Supreme Court to enhance the compensation to 30 lakh on the basis that the previously fixed compensation of 10 lakh was fixed as far back as in the year 1993 and could not be considered to be an adequate compensation," it said, adding that the family members of the deceased sanitation workers are entitled to a compensation of 30 lakh.

The high court said the remaining amount be paid to the family members within eight weeks.

Observing that manual scavengers have lived in bondage, systematically trapped in inhuman conditions for a long time, the Supreme Court had in October last year asked the Centre and state governments to completely eradicate manual scavenging across the country.

Passing a slew of directions for the benefit of people involved in manual scavenging, it had asked the central and state governments to pay 30 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of those who die while cleaning sewers.

"The court hereby directs the Union and the States to ensure that the compensation for sewer deaths is increased was made applicable from 1993. The current equivalent of that amount is 30 lakh. This shall be the amount to be paid, by the concerned agency, that is, the Union, the Union Territory or the State as the case may be. In other words, compensation for sewer deaths shall be 30 lakh," the Supreme Court had ordered.

It had also said that the authorities needed to take measures for the rehabilitation of the victims and their families.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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