The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked a panel, set up by the Lt Governor to look into the validity of appointments in the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), to expedite its proceedings. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said till the committee completes its proceedings and tables its report before the Lieutenant Governor (LG), there would be no clarity regarding the workers appointed by the DCW to handle various women helplines. The court said that till the committee gives its report, the workers employed by the DCW to work on various helplines be paid their salaries, starting from April 2017, as and when it is due.
The order came on an application moved on behalf of 97 DCW workers, majority of them being women as well as some acid attack victims, seeking payment of their salary for the month of April and every subsequent month when work was taken from them by the Commission. “These people (workers) do not have clarity on whether they should start looking for jobs elsewhere. The committee should expedite its proceedings so that they (workers) know where they stand,” the court said.
The court also said that every month the LG’s office was seeking more time to come out with the panel’s report, but the workers cannot be made to wait for their pay. The court’s observations came after central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the LG’s office, said the committee’s proceedings are likely to conclude in four more weeks and thereafter, a report would be tabled before the LG.
He said the delay in concluding proceedings was due to the reason that the panel was allegedly facing difficulty in getting the documents related to the appointments made by the Commission. The court said the report of the committee may not be binding on it as the panel was not appointed by it.
It, however, said that when the report is out, then either the LG’s office or the workers can move the court for modification or variation of the interim orders. With this clarification, the court disposed of the application which was filed through advocate Amita Kalkal Chaudhry.
The application was filed in the main petition of the workers who had moved the court in December last claiming that their salary from September to December have not been paid. On their plea, the court had then directed the DCW to pay 50 per cent of the arrears of the workers’ salary for the four months.
Subsequently, by way of interim orders the court had ordered release of the salaries of January and February 2017 while the matter was pending before it. Thereafter in March, the court had ordered release of that month’s salary as well as 25 per cent of the arrears of the pay for the months of September to December 2016 so that the workers can pay the school fees of their children.