The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Development Authority to pay Rs. 10 Lakh each to the family of two persons who had died during the cleaning of the manhole in Delhi's Mundka area.

The Court also directed DDA to consider the dependant's claim for grant of compassionate appointment in terms of the Statutory provisions and the Judgment passed by the Supreme Court in Safai Karamchari Andolan & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that "It is really unfortunate that even after 75 years of Independence poor-people are being forced to work as manual scavengers and the Statutory provisions as contained under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavenger and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and the Rules framed thereunder are not being followed."

Senior Advocate Rajsekhar Rao was the Amicus Curiae. Municipal Corporation of Delhi was represented by Standing Counsel Ajjay Arorra, Standing Counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi appeared for the Government of NCT of Delhi and Standing Counsel Shobhana Takiar represented DDA.

In this case, a compliance report was filed by the DDA. In the compliance report, it was stated that an inquiry was conducted in the case which revealed that on the fateful day, at 1:53 PM, a call was received by Anurag Yadav, Assistant Engineer (AE) from a person claiming to be a resident of the area who was complaining regarding a problem about a manhole.

It was stated that Anurag Yadav, requested Afzal Husain, to look into the case as he had executed sewer-related work earlier. Afzal Husain, in turn telephonically called Ashok Gulia, the security guard available at the site, to understand the nature of complaint.

The inquiry further revealed that another security guard, Amardeep, saw Ashok Gulia, was getting the manhole cleaned by a daily wager named Rohit.

Ashok Gulia and Rohit passed away during the cleaning of the manhole.

The Status Report, therefore, put the blame on Ashok Gulia and Rohit, who undertook the work without understanding the criticality of the situation and the accident occurred because of their negligence.

The Status Report also observed that considering that the deceased were the earning members of their family, immediate relief of compensation should be given to the dependents of both the deceased.

The Court directed DDA to pay a sum of Rs.10,00,000/- each to the family of Ashok Gulia and Rohit, and also directed to consider the claim for grant of compassionate appointment in terms of the Statutory provisions and the Judgment passed by the Supreme Court.

"The decision in respect of grant of compassionate appointment be communicated to this Court within a period of 30 days from today. It is made clear that in case the order passed by this Court is not complied with within the said time period, Vice-Chairman, DDA shall remain present on the next date of hearing.", the Court noted while posting the matter to November 14, 2022.

Cause Title- Court on its own motion v. MCD & Ors.

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