Two persons died while cleaning the hotel’s sewage treatment plant pit

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the managing director of hotel Royal Orchid Central, Shimoga, to be personally present in the court on December 6, in connection with the death of two persons while cleaning the sewage treatment plant pit on the hotel premises recently.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, passed the order during the hearing of public interest litigation petitions, filed by the former Advocate-General R.N. Narasimhamurthy and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, complaining about manual scavenging.

During the hearing, two recent instances, one in Shimoga and another in Gulbarga, were brought to the notice of the Bench. It was also pointed out to the Bench that newspaper reports linked the hotel to family members of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

‘Cases still reported’

Earlier, counsel for PUCL Clifton D’Rozario informed the Bench that despite assurances given by the State government that manual cleaning of manholes/septic tanks had been done away with, instances of manual cleaning and deaths were being reported.

When it was pointed out that the first information report (FIR) registered in connection with incident at Royal Orchid Central only named the engineer and manager of the hotel, the Bench said: “It is a stupid FIR. Only morons can register such FIR. Is the State employing only morons” it asked and wanted to know why a case was not booked against top management personnel.

Three persons were on the job of cleaning the pit on November 23, and of them two died from asphyxiation.

While adjourning further hearing till December 6, the Bench also asked the State government to file a report in this regard.

KAS exams

The Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) informed the High Court that the Karnataka Administrative Services (KAS) exams scheduled to begin on December 15 could not be postponed. A submission in this regard was made by the KPSC counsel during the hearing on the petition filed by some candidates seeking the postponement, for the reason that it would be difficult for candidates to simultaneously prepare for KAS, NET and departmental exams. The Court did not interfere in the matter and asked the petitioners to move the KAT as it is related to service matter.