The Delhi High Court has directed the State Government to make endeavors to pay additional ₹ 20 Lakhs to families of manual scavengers who lost their lives.

The bench further said that the Court expects the government will endeavor to pay the balance of Rs.20 lakh to all similarly placed persons instead of forcing the family members of persons who have lost their lives in manual scavenging to approach this Court by filing writ petitions.

A bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad observed, “It is well settled that when a person approaches a court and gets a declaration of law in his favour, it is expected that the State shall extend the same benefit to all the similarly situated persons without forcing those persons to approach the court of law. Applying the said principle in the facts of the present case, the Petitioners herein are similarly placed to the Petitioner in W.P.(C) 15156/2023, the Petitioners ought to have been granted the same benefit of additional Rs. 20 lakhs in terms of the judgment passed by the Apex Court in Balram Singh v. Union of India”.

Accordingly, the Respondents were directed to pay the said amount within a period of six weeks.

In the present matter, the petitioners were the widows of workers who lost their lives in manual scavenging. They approached the Court for a direction to the respondents to pay a sum of Rs.20 lakh to the petitioners in terms of the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in Balram Singh's case.

It was stated that the State Government under its policy had given a sum of Rs. 10 lakhs to the family of the persons who died in between, including the petitioners in the present case.

Pertinently, the Supreme Court in Balram Singh v. Union of India, has observed as under: “…(4) The court hereby directs the Union and the States to ensure that the compensation for sewer deaths is increased (given that the previous amount fixed, i.e., Rs. 10 lakhs) was made applicable from 1993. The current equivalent of that amount is Rs. 30 lakhs. This shall be the amount to be paid, by the concerned agency, i.e., the Union, the Union Territory or the State as the case may be. In other words, compensation for sewer deaths shall be Rs. 30 lakhs. In the event, dependents of any victim have not been paid such amount, the above amount shall be payable to them. Furthermore, this shall be the amount to be hereafter paid, as compensation...”.

Appearance: For the Petitioners- Pawan Reley, Akshay Lodhi, Sajal Awasthi and Simran Singh, Advocates.

For the Respondents: Nidhi Banga, Sr. Panel Counsel with Kanishk, GP and Nishant Kumar, Advocate for R-1. Satyakam, ASC for GNCTD with Pradyut Kashyap, Advocate. Sangeeta Bharti, Standing Counsel with Malvi Balyan and Aarushi Behl, Advocates for R-3. Divya Swamy, Standing Counsel for MCD with Yagyawalkya Singh and Akriti Singh, Advocates for R-4 and 5. Raghuvinder Varma, ASC for NDMC with Ankit Goel, Asst. Law Officer, NDMC.

Cause Title: Maya Kaur & Ors v. Union Of India & Ors.

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