The Bombay High Court has directed the civic body in Maharashtra’s Thane city to release the compensation awarded to the families of sanitation workers who lost their lives on duty, citing that it need not insist on examining heirship or succession certificates in every case.
A bench of Justices Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Sandeep V Marne passed the order on Tuesday on a writ petition filed by Shramik Jata Sangh.
The order will benefit the families of 10 conservancy workers who lost their lives on duty, the organisation’s office-bearer Jagdish Khairalia said in a release.
The bench in its order noted that the petition highlighted the delay in the payment of compensation to the families of sanitation workers who died while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in private buildings or cooperative societies.
Though the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) adopted a resolution to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to the affected families, it is insisting that they produce heirship or succession certificates to release the amount, it said.
The petitioners have alleged that the procurement of heirship or succession certificate causes inordinate delay in the payment of compensation in addition to unnecessary expenses.
“While we do appreciate the concerns expressed by the TMC in insisting on procurement of proof by claimant legal heir of deceased sewage workers, it is seen that insistence on procurement of heirship/succession certificate is substantially delaying payment of compensation,” the court said.
It cited that competing claims are not the case in every instance of such death. Hence, the civic body cannot insist on production of heirship or succession certificate in every case.
“In a given case where two sets of relatives file competing claims for compensation before the municipal corporation, it would be justified on procurement of heirship certificate. However, to insist on the procurement of heirship certificate in every case would completely defeat the entire objective behind payment of compensation,” the court said.
The court directed the TMC not to insist on the heirship or succession certificate in every case, and asked it to conduct a preliminary enquiry into claims and release the amount, it said.
With respect to pending cases highlighted by the petitioners, the TMC can verify documents submitted before it and release the compensation within four weeks if there are no disputes, the court ordered.
The petition is listed for further consideration on August 24.