In the case of Court on its own motion v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Ors, the Delhi High Court division bench led by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad noted that it is regrettable that even after 75 years of independence, poor people are still forced to work as manual scavengers and that the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (PEMSR) provisions are not being followed.
As it ordered the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to compensate the relatives of the two individuals who died on September 9 while clearing a clogged sewer in a residential community in Mundka, outside of Delhi, the court made this observation.
Rohit Chandiliya, 32, reportedly passed away on September 9 while emptying a sewer. Security guard Ashok, 30, who was stationed nearby and attempted to assist Chandiliya, too perished in the tragedy. The incident had been brought before the court on its own motion.
In his capacity as amicus curiae, senior attorney Rajshekhar Rao briefed the court that the DDA’s report indicated the worker was cleaning the manhole on his own initiative and without receiving instructions from a higher authority. According to the article, the DDA had received a complaint about sewage blockage, and Chandiliya was working to find a solution, the man claimed.