Strongly protesting the cancellation of their winter vacation after a directive from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s prosecutors have dashed off a letter to the director of prosecution.
While December 24 and 25 are gazetted holidays, all criminal courts in Delhi are on winter vacation during December 26-31, as per the orders of the Delhi High Court.
However, an order issued by Director of Prosecution Pankaj Sanghi on December 15 stated, “The honourable chief minister has desired that a training programme/workshop on the functioning and working of all the Prosecuting Officers is likely to be held between 24.12.2015 to 3.1.2016 during the winter vacation of the court.”
“Hence, all the prosecuting officers are hereby directed to attend their respective offices during the said period,” said the order.
Sanghi also warned the prosecutors against violating the order, saying, “Any default and non-availability of any particular officer will be viewed very seriously and all the public prosecutors/chief prosecutors are hereby directed to ensure the presence of the prosecuting officers.”
Protesting the cancellation of their vacation, the Delhi Prosecutor’s Welfare Association (DPWA) has written to Sanghi and urged him to “communicate” with the chief minister about changing the date of the training programme.
“Winter vacation, as per the honourable high court of Delhi calendar, is from Dec 26 to Dec 31. December 24 and 25 are gazetted holidays and December 27 and January 3 are Sunday holidays and 1st January is New Year Holiday,” stated the letter written by association president Gaurav Singh.
He also pointed out an “order of the Delhi administrator”, issued in 1978, which stated that staff of the prosecution department in Delhi “will observe holidays as notified by the Honorable High Court”.
Singh urged the director of prosecution to ask Kejriwal for a change of date. “Kindly communicate with the office of the Honourable Chief Minister to fix any date before or after the winter vacation for the training programme,” he said in the letter.
Several prosecutors also slammed the government’s directive, terming it “ambiguous and vague”. “The order says Kejriwal is likely to hold the training programme. That means it has not been finalised and might not take place at all,” said a prosecutor. The prosecution department does not work according to the Delhi government’s calendar, he added.
“They work five days a week. We have a six-day week as we work according to the high court calendar,” said a DPWA member.
Many others said they had already made travel plans and booked their tickets, much before the “last-minute” order was issued.