To summon Minister if kin of victims are not compensated

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday said that it would summon the Minister concerned if the Government failed to pay compensation to the families of persons who have lost their lives while they were engaged in manual scavenging.

The court summoned Arvind Shrivastava, Secretary, Urban Development Department (Municipalities and Urban Development Authorities), to appear before it on March 7.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order while hearing public hearing litigation filed in 2009 by the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties Karnataka, which complained about manual scavenging in the State and deaths of workers engaged in the task.

During the last hearing on January 31, the Bench had directed the Government to take a decision on payment of ex-gratia to the families of those who lost their lives while engaged in manual scavenging. However, the Bench on Tuesday found that no information was forthcoming from the Government in this regard.

“We are disturbed and dismayed by the fact that, after last hearing, one person has died (on February 16) in Dharwad while cleaning the underground sewage system (UGD) system. The affidavit filed by the Secretary states that jetting machines would be used and manual scavenging would be stopped. Despite such an affidavit, a death of a worker has taken place,” the Bench observed. “Yet again lip service is being paid. A social malice, which continued for centuries, has not been stopped despite its ban by the Constitutional provisions.”

“It is nice to become chairman of the board and do nothing. It is nothing but inept handling,” the Bench observed while referring to the affidavits filed by the Chairpersons of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board.

Withdrawn

The High Court on Tuesday dismissed as withdrawn the petition filed by Kumar V. Jahgirdar, the former husband of Chetana, cricketer Anil Kumble's wife.

He had moved the court complaining that the Bharathinagar police had failed to register an FIR against Mr. Kumble and Ms. Chetana on the charge of impersonation and forgery. However, the police said they had summoned Mr. Kumble and had taken his statement, besides taking legal opinion from the Director of Prosecution. They said they had closed the complaint as they did not find material for registration of FIR.

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