Taking note of the recent deaths of sanitation workers in the state, the Gujarat High Court on Monday directed the government to ensure “complete compliance” with provisions of the Manual Scavenging Act.
It also sought a report on the death of two sanitation workers here on Sunday.
The unfortunate situation where workers die while carrying out manual scavenging prevails despite the government’s past assurances to the court, a division bench of Justices S R Brahmbhatt and V P Patel said.
“We are at pain to note that there is absolute lack of sensitivity qua (regarding) the issue, else this would not have happened,” it said.
The report on follow-up action in the aftermath of the recent deaths, as prescribed under the Act, should be placed before the court, the judges said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by city-based NGO Manav Garima in 2016, which has sought the court’s direction to the government to put an end to the practice of manual scavenging and pay Rs 10 lakh to the kin of every sanitation worker who died inside a manhole since 1993.
The court directed the government to ensure a complete compliance with the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavenging And Rehabilitation Act.
Counsel for the NGO, Hirak Ganguly, told the court that several more deaths took place when the petition was pending, the most recent instance being the death of two sanitation workers in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
The two workers died of suffocation after falling into a manhole.
The court asked the government pleader to submit a report on Tuesday as to who was responsible for these two deaths.