Libertatem Magazine

PIL Filed in Delhi High Court Regarding Non Payment of Salaries of Sanitation Workers

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The pandemic and pandemic induced lockdown brought the entire world to a standstill. There were a few people who even during the lockdown, risked their lives to save the lives of others. Healthcare workers, police official etc are recognised for their work during the lockdown, however, sanitation workers, ‘safai karamcharis’ as there are also known face a very different scenario. They were not even paid their salaries for their work or even provided with adequate safety gear.

Facts of the Case

The petition was filed by Harman Singh, a resident of Delhi. Mr. Singh is a social activist who is also a former chairman of the Delhi Commission for Safai Karamcharis. He filed the petition of behalf of the sanitation workers claiming that they were not paid their salaries and were not even provided with protective gear and were not given access to medical facilities. He claimed that the defendants (Centre, Delhi government and commissions) were violating the COVID-19 guidelines laid down by World Health Organisation and described the approach and attitude of the defendants towards safai karamcharis as “inhumane.” It is a sad truth that these workers belong to the most disadvantaged and poorest sections of the society, and the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis was constituted to address their issues and protect their issues, yet even the body was turning a blind eye to this condition. The petition also highlighted the fact that the sanitation sector was also put into immense pressure due to the pandemic. The mixing of house wastes with bio-medical waste is a huge risk to the health of the workers who sort these wastes. Addressing all these issues a letter had been written to the Commissioner of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation on 18th January 2021.


The petition put forward that,

“No facilities for treatment and care as well as medical insurance of these sanitation workers and their families have been made available by the respondents (Centre, Delhi government and the commissions).”

The petition was filed in the backdrop of the sanitation workers working in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) going into a strike and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) sanitation workers preparing for a strike. Keeping this in mind, the petitioners also argued that

“As sanitation workers have been compelled to take drastic steps, it has serious implications for sanitation, cleanliness, and safety of the general public”

while seeking for the government to take adequate measures. The counsel for the Delhi Government took the stance that the sanitation workers were under the jurisdiction of three corporations. It was the corporation’s duty to ensure the availability of the safety gear and to provide medical facilities.

Court Decision

The Court asked the Centra and the Aam Admi Party government to respond to the petition filed. The two-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh also directed the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Delhi government and the National and Delhi Commissions for Safai Karamcharis to issue their response by March 15. is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgement from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also contribute blog, articles, story tip, judgment and many more and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

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