Are you implying that two manual scavengers went into manholes for pleasure? The Karnataka High Court has asked for information from the Water Supply and Drainage Board.
The Karnataka High Court slammed the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (Board) on Thursday, chastising it for its cavalier attitude toward the problem of manual scavenging and the deaths that result from it. The Board's claim that one of the workers who died within a manhole at Kalaburagi entered the manhole voluntarily irritated a Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj. "How can you claim that people went into manholes on their own volition? The nature of your (Board) findings concerns us. Are you implying that manual scavengers went into manholes for the fun of it? "The Court insisted. The Court was hearing a number of petitions calling for the practise of manual scavenging to be outlawed in the state. The Bench was primarily looking into the deaths of two manual scavengers who died on January 28 after suffocating inside a manhole in Kalaburagi. The Board, after completing its internal inquiry, informed the Court on Thursday that one of persons had entered the manhole manually to check what the problem in the manhole was. However, since there was some issue, he had fainted inside the manhole. Seeing this, a second worker jumped inside to help him and got trapped. Both of them were immediately rushed to a hospital but later died, the Court was told. In December 2020, the High Court had issued a slew of directions to ensure the proper implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (Manual Scavengers Act).