The High Court of Kerala, through learned judge, Justice M. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Charly in the case Baisil Attippety vs Kerala Water Authority WP(C).No.11185 OF 2014(S) ordered the State Government to pay compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to families of deceased manhole workers
BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: A public interest litigation was filed to give adequate compensation to workmen, who died in 2014 inside the manhole of Kerala Water Authority sewerage pipeline. The petitioner contended that when the employees were engaged in cleaning of manholes of sewage pipelines, necessary safeguards ought to have been taken by the Water Authority officials, so as to avoid any accident. The workmen were not provided with adequate gears and oxygen masks. Besides, even the Police and Fire rescue team did not have the necessary tools to rescue the poor workmen. All of these instances lead to their unfortunate demise. The contractor had paid a sum of rupees four lakh to the wives of the deceased workmen.
JUDGEMENT: The court relied on the judgement of the Hon’ble Apex Court in Safai Karamchari Andolan and Others v. Union of India (UOI) and Others (2014 11 SCC 224) and directed the respondent, Kerala Water Authority to disburse the sum of Rs.10,00,000/- each to the families of the deceased workmen within a period of two months. The court held that the compensation as per the decision in Safai Karamchari Andolan had to be paid by the government either state or central and not by the contractor. The court closed the petition by remarking “Let the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court be honoured by the above said respondents, in letter and spirit, without giving room for further litigation”.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K