Years after SC directive, compensation eludes kin of dead manual scavengers

October 13, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:31 am IST - CHENNAI:

Two-and-a-half years after the Supreme Court directed the State governments to provide compensation to the families of all manual scavengers who have died clearing sewers since 1993, the Tamil Nadu government has yet to compensate 119 such deaths. The status quo has remained the same despite the apex court upholding its order in this regard on May 10, 2015 while disposing of a review application moved by the Tamil Nadu government seeking clarification on its liability in compensating deaths of manual scavengers engaged by private parties.

Taking stock of the situation, the First Bench of the Madras High Court directed the Secretary of the Municipal Administration and Water Supply to file a progress report providing details about the disbursal of compensation. The Bench comprising Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan passed the direction on a PIL moved by A. Narayanan seeking to implement the apex court’s order. A status report filed by the petitioner at a recent hearing stated that despite the “progressive direction” by the Supreme Court, the families of 126 deceased manual scavengers continued to live a “miserable existence”, of which 41 families could not be traced by the authorities.

Recording the summary report, the Bench said, “Keeping the summary position, further progress report will be filed by the authorities,” adding that since the review plea moved by the government has been disposed of by the Supreme Court, the present position should result in payments being disbursed. The next hearing of the PIL will be on November 25.

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