gujarat high court

Gujarat High Court: In a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the unpaid compensation to the dependents of the deceased sanitation workers, the Division Bench of Sunita Agarwal, CJ and Aniruddha P. Mayee, J. directed for payment of compensation to the dependents of the deceased.

Several sanitation workers died between 1993 to 2014 due to manual scavenging. The Court vide order dated 27-09-2023, on perusal of various affidavits filed by the State, noted that compensation was given to some of the dependents of the deceased, however, some were still left unpaid. The Court also noted that a policy dated 16-12-2016 was promulgated providing guidelines for urban areas, giving clear instructions to the subordinate Heads of Department and other officers namely Municipal Corporations, Commissioner of the Municipalities Administration, Regional Commissioner of Municipalities, Nagarpalika etc. to ensure strict implementation of the provisions of Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

The Court noted that even after 3 months of the previous order, no compensation was paid to some of the dependents and that no explanation was forthcoming in any of the affidavits filed on behalf of the State about non-payment of compensation to the dependents of the deceased sanitation workers who had died during manual scavenging. The Court directed the Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Urban Housing Department, to file his personal affidavit explaining the reasons for non-payment of compensation to the dependents of the sixteen deceased sanitation workers, whose names are included in the list of the deceased during the period of 1993-2014.

The Court also took note of a First Information Report (‘FIR’) filed to report another incident of death of one person and another having suffered serious injuries on 10-11-2023. Hence, the Court directed the Municipal Commissioner, Bhavnagar Municipality to file an affidavit to bring on record the details of the said incident.

Regarding the quantum of compensation to be paid to the dependents of the deceased, the Court directed the officer concerned to take note of the decision in Balram Singh v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1386.

The matter was further listed for a hearing on 18-01-2024.

[Manav Garima v. State Of Gujarat, 2024 SCC OnLine Guj 169, Order dated: 03-01-2024.]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the petitioner: Advocate R Pankaj P Zampadia and Advocate Subramaniam Iyer

For the respondents: AGP Utkarsh Sharma

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