A day before the odd-even policy for private vehicles comes into effect across the capital, several senior bureaucrats in the Delhi government have decided to go on mass leave, a move that could spell serious trouble for the AAP government.
Members of the DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) Officers’ Association decided to go on leave to protest the suspension of two senior DANICS officials Monday. The two officials — Subhash Chandra, special secretary, prisons, and Yashpal Garg, special secretary, prosecution — had been suspended by the AAP government as they had allegedly refused to sign two cabinet notes.
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The move will also affect a ‘coordination meeting’ called by the government to finalise last-minute preparations for odd-even trial period. There are over 200 DANICS officials in Delhi; a majority of them are sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) and additional district magistrates (ADMs). Once the odd-even policy is implemented, SDMs will have the task of supervising civil defence volunteers and ensuring that those violating the policy are penalised.
The DANICS officials have received support from the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, Union Territories) IAS Cadre Association, which extended “support to the DANICS resolution” and said, “it was jointly resolved to convey the concerns and anguish of both the associations to various government authorities concerned”.
In their letter to the MHA, DANICS officials claimed that Chandra and Garg had been suspended “illegally”.
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“The two senior officers of DANICS, namely Yashpal Garg and Subhash Chandra, both working as special secretary, Home, GNCTD, have been illegally suspended for refusing to sign the notification which was not approved by the competent authority regarding grant of higher pay scales for the staff of prosecution department and prisons department,” they said.
Defending the suspended officials, DANICS officials have said that they could not have signed the notification as the Lieutenant Governor had already referred the matter to the President under Rule 50 of the Transaction of Business Rules of the GNCTD Rules, 1993.
According to the rule, “where a case is referred to the central government in pursuance of Rule 50, it shall be competent for the Lt Governor to direct that action shall be suspended pending the decision of the President on such case…”.
“The association met on an emergent basis and decided to go on mass leave on December 31, 2015. It is requested to take all measures to declare suspension orders null and void. In lieu of Thursday, officers will work on Saturday that is January 2, 2015, to compensate the loss of work,” wrote DANICS officials.
Meanwhile, opposition BJP targeted the AAP government over the suspension and accused Home Minister Satyendar Jain of “pressuring” and “insulting” the officials. BJP’s Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay said, “The home minister was pressuring the officials … to increase the pay and allowances of party worker… and the public prosecutor appointed by it without the approval of the Lt Governor. When the officers refused to sign the file regarding the unconstitutional hike in the pay and allowances, the home minister not only insulted the officers in front of junior officials but also suspended them…”
When contacted, an MHA official said, “The Delhi government is not the competent authority to order suspension of IAS and DANICS officers. The ministry has not received any letter on the matter from civil servants, nor has there been any communication between the ministry and the Delhi government.”
The Delhi government is yet to give a formal response to the mass leave by bureaucrats.