NHRC notice to the Government of Tamil Nadu over lack of toilet facility in its Kancheepuram Agriculture Office leading to the death of a woman Warehouse Manager (18.12.2020)

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken cognizance of a complaint that due to lack of toilet facility in her office, a Warehouse Manager of Tamil Nadu Government went out side to relieve herself in an under constructional building and died after she fell down in a septic tank there. She was working in the Kancheepuram Agriculture Development office, when this incident happened on 07th December, 2020.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Government of Tamil Nadu through its Chief Secretary, calling for a detailed report in the matter. It should include action taken against the delinquent public servants who have failed to provide basic facility in a Government office. The response is expected within six weeks.

Issuing the notice, the Commission has observed that it appears that the State Government has prima facie failed to cater the basic needs for its employees, who discharge their duties for the welfare and well being of the people. It seems to have shown remissness to protect and secure the life and dignity of a woman employee.

The Commission has also noted that the Central Government has initiated various scheme under Swachh Bharat Mission to construct toilets as a basic amenity mainly for girls and women specifically, but unfortunately, it has shown no improvement in the condition of State Government Departments, much less, a good and conducive working environment, which is the paramount consideration for any employer to offer to its employees.

Article 42 of the Constitution of India, which is under the Directive Principle of State Policy, makes it mandatory for the State to ensure that it is the duty of the administrative authority to secure just and human condition for work in the working place.

According to the complaint, since there is no toilet in her office, the 24 year old victim had gone to relieve herself in a nearby building that was being constructed under a state government scheme. A tin sheet was used to cover the septic tank, nearby which she went to relieve herself, when she somehow got slipped and fell into the tank. When she did not return for half-an-hour, her colleagues got worried and went in search of her. They were shocked to find her footwear floating in the septic tank and then tried to rescue her. They rushed her to the Kancheepuram Government Hospital with the help of local residents but she was declared brought dead.

https://nhrc.nic.in/media/press-release/nhrc-notice-government-tamil-nadu-over-lack-toilet-facility-its-kancheepuram

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