High Court issues notice to Karnataka govt., Centre on domestic workers’ plea

‘All workers have not been registered even 11 years after law came into existence’

February 13, 2021 12:12 am | Updated 12:12 am IST - Bengaluru

The High Court of Karnataka has ordered issue of notice to the State and Central governments on a PIL petition complaining non-registration of all domestic workers under the provisions of the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act and extension of welfare schemes to them even 11 years after the law came into existence.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order on the petition filed by the Domestic Workers’ Rights Union.

“The failure of the State to register domestic workers under the Act has resulted in more than four lakh domestic workers in Bengaluru city, and many more across the State standing neglected, without jobs, and without economic and social security, especially during this pandemic period,” the petitioner has alleged.

The petitioner has complained that though the State government has announced financial assistance to people working in various other sectors of unorganised workers, no financial assistance was offered to domestic workers following COVID-19 pandemic though they lost their livelihood.

Narrating how domestic workers were discriminated against, particularly during the pandemic, the petitioner has said that “casteist, feudal, and discriminatory practices imposed on domestic workers, including use of separate utensils and prohibition of use of toilets, amount to practice of untouchability...”

Despite the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act specifically covers domestic workers within its ambit, the ineffective functioning of local complaint committees has forced domestic workers to face sexual harassment at workplace sans help at the time of sexual harassment by employers.

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