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Sunday, March 07, 2021

Anarchy can’t be allowed, says Delhi high court while hearing plea on sanitation strike

A counsel representing the unions told the court that a statement was recorded before another bench Friday that they are withdrawing the strike and the sanitation staff will resume the duties Saturday

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
February 6, 2021 1:45:54 am
The municipal body had alleged that continuing strike by safai karamchari unions due to the alleged non-payment of salaries had resulted in a complete standstill of work. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Hearing a matter pertaining to striking sanitation workers in Delhi, the Delhi High Court Friday said that everyone should realise that anarchy cannot be permitted to prevail in the society and called out political leaders for fuelling agitations in the country. The court also asked police to take strictest action against those causing problems.

“Whatever may be going on in the country in other places…that is a different thing… We can’t have a situation where we have this kind of an anarchy that everyone is law unto himself… Do you realise the danger of this? This is all unfortunately being fuelled by political considerations,” said the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) seeking directions to police to ensure that there is no obstruction in the performance of duties by its officials, including safai karamcharis. The municipal body had alleged that continuing strike by safai karamchari unions due to the alleged non-payment of salaries had resulted in a complete standstill of work. Miscreants claiming to be part of the strike are illegally waylaying garbage trucks, threatening the drivers and dumping garbage on the roads, the court was told.

The court further said that the political leadership was not understanding the situation. “There used to be…some unstated understanding that we will go up to this point and not beyond; that seems to have been completely breached. We don’t want to blame one or the other party for it because this is happening across. People are trying to exploit this kind of situation. This is something very dangerous,” it added.

Observing that it was not a good idea to “whip up” this kind of agitation as a “permanent and lasting” damage was being done to the society, Justice Sanghi also observed, “Just as it is bad for one political party to spread communalism, it is equally bad to create this kind of an anarchy for any other party… What are we doing to our country?”

The court further said that such things were taking place just to gain political mileage. “We have to look inwards. It is easy to blame others but please look at your own conduct. Is this correct?” the bench said.

EDMC pointed out that the salary of Group D employees till December 2020 has been released and steps have also been taken for release of salary for the month of January 2021. A counsel representing the unions told the court that a statement was recorded before another bench Friday that they are withdrawing the strike and the sanitation staff will resume the duties Saturday.

Directing the police to follow an earlier order passed by a division bench in June 2015 to ensure removal of garbage under police protection, the court said resorting to a strike does not entitle safai karamcharis to take law into their own hands and create anarchy in the society.

“Everyone should realise that in a civilised society, such anarchy cannot be permitted to prevail… all the concerned authorities particularly police take whatever steps as are considered necessary to prevent the arising of such situation and to deal with the menace created by miscreants,” said the court further.

It also directed the municipal corporations to take strictest disciplinary action against any safai karamchari found to be indulging in any such activity and asked the leaders of their unions to be present before the court on next date of hearing, March 4.

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