Sanitation Workers, Image Courtesy: CounterView
Sanitation Workers, Image Courtesy: CounterView
Litigation News

Protecting sanitation workers from COVID-19 infection: Centre to file a detailed report in 15 days before Delhi HC

Aditi Singh

Pursuant to a petition concerning the risk at which Safai Karamcharis/sanitation workers were discharging their duties during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially while cleaning bio-medical waste, ICU units, etc, the Central Government will file a detailed report on the issue before the Delhi High Court in 15 days. (Harnam Singh vs UOI & Ors)

The petition has been preferred by social activist Harnam Singh, through advocate Mehmood Pracha, seeking the protection of the lives of lakhs of safari karamcharis/sanitation workers in the city.

It was the Petitioner's concern that adequate protection gear was not being provided to sanitation workers, thus exposing them, their families and communities to the risk of the virus.

The Petitioner informed the Court that the World Health Organization guidelines also mandated personal protective equipment (PPE), which included portective outerwear, gloves, boots , goggles etc, for sanitation workers.

The Court's attention was also drawn to news reports on sanitation workers at Rashtrapati Bhawan, Lok Sabha and Secretariat being infected with the virus.

In response, the Central Government informed the court that it has already provided a total number of 3,46,929 N95 masks and 60,890 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits to the Delhi Government.

It was also pointed out that the work undertaken by the sanitation wokers were in the category of low risk, moderate risk and high risk work and various steps had already been taken in terms of the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It was also asserted that a similar writ petition had already been disposed of by the Supreme Court.

The Central Government, however, stated that it would file a detailed report on the issue in 15 days.

Considering the submissions, a Divison Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar ordered,

All these facts be highlighted in the report to be filed by the Union of India before the next date of hearing.
Delhi High Court

The Petitioner was represented by Advocate Mehmood Pracha.

Centre was represented by ASG Maninder Acharya with Standing Counsel Jasmeet Singh and Advocate Viplav Acharya.

The matter would be heard next on May 8.

Read the order:

Harman Singh vs UOI.pdf
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