AAP vs Centre: Delhi bureaucrats go on mass leave

RSTV Bureau
Kejriwal-n-Sisodia

File photo of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. (PTI)

The battle between the Delhi government and the Centre is also being played out on the last day of the year gone by. Delhi bureaucrats have gone on a mass leave to protest against the “illegal” suspension of two DANICS-cadre officers by the AAP government in Delhi. This even as the Union Home Ministry has declared the suspension as null and void.

A day after two senior civil service officers of the Home Department were suspended by the AAP government for allegedly refusing to sign on a Cabinet decision file, around 200 other DANICS officers have gone on a mass leave on Thursday to show solidarity with the suspended officers. Not just them, 70 IAS officers too have gone on a half-day leave.

“The Home Ministry has received a reference from the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on the suspension of two DANICS officers. It declares the suspension order is ‘non est’ (mistake or does not exist) and the two officers should be considered deemed to be on duty,” said a Home Ministry spokesperson.

On Wednesday, Delhi government suspended Yashpal Garg, Special Secretary (Prosecution), and Subhash Chandra after they allegedly refused to sign a file pertaining to the Cabinet decision to increase salary of public prosecutors and prison staff.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has termed the suspension as null and void as disciplinary action against DANICS officers can only be taken after consulting it.

The DANICS officers maintain that the appointing and the disciplinary authority of DANICS officers is the President of India, who acts on the aid and advice of the Union Home Ministry. Also, the Home Minister of Delhi has no authority to take any disciplinary action against them under the existing rules.

DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) are selected through civil service exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

AAP is furious about the strike being held by bureaucrats. CM Kejriwal tweeted to blame the Centre and the BJP for the mess.

“DANICS and IAS associations in Delhi have become full fledged B teams of BJP,” alleged the CM on twitter.

“The two officers were suspended for not implementing Cabinet decision on December 28. If they had any problem with my order, they should have approached Chief Minister not LG. The Lt Governor has already asked officers to defy government decision,” said Satyendra Jain, the Home Minister of Delhi.

“I know that by the evening, LG will declare the suspension of two officers by Delhi Government as null and void,” he charged.

DANICS and IAS officers do not have the right to go on strike as it is against their service rule, lashed out Jain. He also warned that the AAP government will not tolerate any “disobedience” from the officers. And if the if officers working in the Delhi government have any problem, they can get themselves transferred to the LG office, he threatened.

The DANICS Officers’ Association comprise of about 200 members who hold crucial posts like SDM, Secretary to Minister and Special Secretary.

“Delhi Government does not have power to suspend any DANICS officer and it can only recommend suspension of DANICS officer and on this, LG can suspend him or her with permission from MHA,” a representative of the DANICS Officers’ Association said.

Earlier this month, Kejriwal had also suspended two sub-divisional magistrates for failing to provide instant relief to victims whose shanties were demolished by Railways in West Delhi’s Shakur Basti area. The two SDMs still continue to be on their posts despite the suspension.

(With inputs from PTI)