Bombay HC awards ₹10 lakh each to widows of three manual scavengers

The petitioners with their lawyer outside the Bombay High Court on Friday. Photo: Twitter/@LiveLawIndia  

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to pay ₹10 lakh each as compensation to the widows of three manual scavengers who died while cleaning a septic tank in a housing society in Govandi on December 23, 2019.

A Division Bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Madhav Jamdar was hearing a petition filed by Vimla Govind Chorotiya, Neeta Santosh Kalshekar, and Bani Vishwajit Debnath. The Bench said the case was an “eye-opener” and directed the office of the District Collector to provide a compensation of ₹10 lakh each to the three women within four weeks.

Advocate Isha Singh, appearing for the petitioners, argued that though the deaths occurred as a consequence of a private housing society employing the men as manual scavengers, the State was strictly liable and responsible for providing compensation to the families. She said the burden of eradicating manual scavenging in accordance with Article 17 of the Constitution (abolition of untouchability) was on the government.


Government Pleader Poornima Kantharia submitted that in addition to compensation, the government was willing to rehabilitate the women by providing their children scholarships. She also highlighted that the petitioners would be included in the list of manual scavengers.

She told the court that in accordance with its instructions, she had brought three cheques of ₹1.25 lakh each for the petitioners. She earlier informed the court that the builder had deposited ₹3.75 lakh as part of the compensation, in accordance with the directions of the tehsildar of Kurla.

The court also stated that it would monitor the case to ensure that all the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers Act, 2013, were implemented. It also directed the State government to submit a list of the manual scavengers identified by it and to report on the action taken on the FIR registered after the deaths of the manual scavengers in Govandi.

The court noted that it would examine whether the Government Resolution regarding the payment of compensation to the families of the deceased manual scavengers was complied with.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 4:33:49 AM |

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