HC seeks report on manual scavenging

The High Court on Monday directed the State government to file a status report on the measures taken to curb manual scavenging in the State.

Hearing a petition by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the government to file a status report regarding the purchase of machinery and other details as directed by the High Court earlier.

The court also directed the government to file a status report on the compensation awarded to family members of the workers who died while cleaning the sewage tank at the Royal Orchid Hotel.

During the hearing, the State government and counsel for Royal Orchid Hotel submitted that the deaths at the hotel were the result of an accident and not caused by manual scavenging.

Submitting that the Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotel, was present in the court, the counsel spoke for the hotel’s record by saying that its reputation is good and that it operates in many places in the country.

Erroneous press reports

He also took the opportunity to discredit media reports which claimed that the hotel belongs to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Instead, he pointed out that the property belongs to relatives of the former chief minister, and that the hotel is being managed by the Royal Orchid Group.
He submitted that the group has over 25 hotels across the country and nowhere has it employed manual scavenging.

In addition, he claimed that the sewage tank where the accident occurred was designed in such a manner that no person can enter it. “They use a sucking machine to clean the tank,” he said.

The counsel sought directions to exempt the managing director of the hotel from appearing before the court during the next hearing.

Government counsel R G Kolle, in his submission, said the case has been registered as an accident and that the post mortem report is awaited.

The Bench, after ordering a proper probe, adjourned the matter until the post mortem report is presented.

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