CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has pulled up the State and directed it to pay eight per cent interest to the identified heirs of manual scavengers who lost their lives in the course of manual scavenging and/or sewerage work from October 1, 2014 till the date of payment of Rs 10 lakh compensation.
“The State is under a bounden duty to prohibit manual scavenging and it cannot avoid its liability to compensate manual scavengers who lose their lives in the course of manual scavenging, by the reason of the inability of the State to stop manual scavenging,” the first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P T Asha said while disposing of the plea moved by Change India Organisation.
Acknowledging that six months would be a reasonable time for the State to identify the victims and pay compensation after the Supreme Court order dated March 27, 2014, the bench decided that the interest should be calculated from October 1, 2014.
“In our view, six months should have been a reasonable time to identify the families and pay compensation. There has been a delay,” the court said.
The petitioner said many families were given the compensation in two or three instalments and thus could not utilise the full compensation of `10 lakhs at a time. Hence, the petitioner said it was appropriate to pay interest on the compensation 30 days from the death of the victims till the date of actual realisation of full compensation.
“In view of the judgment of the Supreme Court, which did not provide interest, we are unable to accede to the prayer of the petitioner for granting interest to the families concerned from the date of death of the manual scavenger concerned,” the bench said.
The court added that the said judgment and order had “three limbs.” This consisted of the practice of manual scavenging as being directed to be closed; the persons included in the final list of manual scavengers to be rehabilitated and a compensation of `10 lakh to be paid to the dependent family members of all persons, who died in sewerage work (manholes, septic tanks) since 1993.
‘Conflicting’ verdicts on TRB exam opposed
Chennai: A group of candidates who cleared the exam for recruitment in government polytechnics, conducted by Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB), has approached the High Court again on appeal after two conflicting judgments of Madras High Court. One judgment set aside the decision of TRB to cancel the entire direct recruitment process for 1,058 vacancies in government polytechnics in view of alleged irregularities, while the other upheld the decision of the government. The petitioners claimed that the ‘tainted candidates’ could be easily segregated. Calling the decision of the government to cancel the entire recruitment, ‘arbitrary,’ the petitioners said this would result in undue delay, and hence the present petition.