Every sanitation worker to be given pamphlet enlisting their rights and entitlements: Allahabad High Court

"Only framing SOPs and guidelines without having any mechanism in place to ensure implementation is of no use," the Court noted.
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The Allahabad High Court recently directed municipal authorities in the city to widely publicize the rights and entitlements of sanitary workers so that the government's schemes could serve their purpose [In Re Ensuring The Security Of Life And Safety Of Health Of The Workmen And Employees Engaged].

The order passed by a Bench of Justices Chandra Kumar Rai and Manoj Kumar Gupta took note of the fact that while a lot was being done in theory, the benefits had not trickled down to the beneficiaries.

"Albeit, a lot has been done on papers, but the benefits have not trickled down to the beneficiaries. Only framing SOPs and guidelines without having any mechanism in place to ensure implementation is of no use," the Court said.

Thus, the Bench directed the authorities to ponder over the issue, and take concrete measures for the implementation of schemes and SOPs to make a discernible change in the working conditions of sanitary workers. The judges suggested,

"One effective way of ensuing implementation of any welfare scheme is to educate the beneficiary of his rights and entitlements. We feel that the SOPs and other beneficial schemes framed by the Government will not serve its objectives unless the workers are educated of their rights and entitlements."

With this, the respondents were asked to prepare a brief one-page pamphlet detailing the rights and entitlements of the sanitary workers.

"It should thereafter be widely publicized in the newspapers, on the notice board of the local body and other mediums of mass communication. Each and every sanitary worker should be handed over the printed pamphlet enlisting their rights and entitlements," the Court directed.

Pursuant to this order, the Court was informed on Monday that the Nagar Nigam had published an advertisement to facilitate filing of complaints.

Further, it was submitted that the authority was strictly monitoring that the beneficial schemes were actually being made available to he sanitary workers.

The case will now be heard on July 5.

Additional Advocate General Manish Goel appeared for the government, while Senior Advocate Anoop Trivedi represented the Nagar Nigam and Advocate Rajeev Lochan Shukla assisted the Court as Amicus Curiae.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice JJ Munir had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of a news report which disclosed that sanitation workers in Allahabad were cleaning open drains without protective gear.

The Bench had thus sought a response from different authorities in the State, including an explanation as to why machines were not being used wherever possible.

"In some of the photographs, the workers are in about chest-deep water, loaded with filth in a drain, without using any protective gear," the Bench had noted in its order.

[Read orders]

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