Safety to sanitation workers entering manholes: Karnataka HC

On Tuesday, Karnataka High Court called for sanitation workers entering manholes to be provided with proper cleaning equipment as envisaged under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Rules, 2013.

The Chief Justice of High Court said that he himself have seen two people entering a manhole without any safety gear.

The court further said They (manual scavengers) are making our life comfortable, we also have to make sure that their life is comfortable.”

An interlocutory application (IA) was moved by SathyaSeelan, a Ph.D, Scholar, to court seeking to ensure that all workers are given safety equipment and that the quality of the same is inspected regularly, as mentioned in the Rules and same was heard by the court.

The Court stated that Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) ought to have ensured that safety gear is provided to all workers entering manholes.

As a result, the Court granted three weeks’ time to reply to the IA.

The IA submitted that an outsourced sanitary helper named Shivakumar had gone with a jetting machine along with his fellow workers to address a complaint registered at a service station.

However, while pulling the jetting pipe out of the manhole Shivakumar got hit on the face and injured him severely, eventually leading to his death.

Consequently, it was submitted that his death was caused by the failure of BWSSB to provide safety equipment to him which is violation of the Rules and same is offence under Section 304 (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code, no FIR has been registered.

Next the matter will be heard on October 8.

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