Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called officers of the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service “full-fledged B teams of BJP” on Thursday after they decided to go on mass leave to protest the “illegal” suspension of two colleagues by the AAP government.
Another round of confrontation began between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Centre as the Narendra Modi-led government termed the DANICS suspensions ‘non est’ (does not exist) and said the two officers should be considered deemed to be on duty.
“People will be v happy if these officers go on long leave. Govt ready to give paid leave. Governance will become honest, smooth n efficient (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted. “Narendra Modi is using the shoulders of these officers and LG to shoot,” he added.
The two officials posted with the home department — special secretary (prisons) Subhash Chandra and special secretary (prosecution) Yashpal Garg — were suspended Tuesday for “insubordination” after they allegedly refused to sign cabinet notes pertaining to a salary hike for public prosecutors and prison staff.
Over a hundred DANICS officers hold key posts in the Delhi government and other agencies and, with the IAS officers, form the backbone of the Capital’s administration network.
Delhi home minister Satyendra Jain said he had no information about the strike. “Suspension is an administration matter, a cabinet decision was failed to be implemented,” Jain said.
He also criticised Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for “directing” officials not to work. “Officers can’t tell me ‘L-G has asked us not to work’. The L-G should have passed a written order,” Jain said.
“L-G has power to stay some orders, but a blanket order saying no order of Delhi government is to be seen through, won’t be followed,” he said.
Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Satish Upadhyay also condemned the suspension of the two officers, saying it was harassing officials and demanded Jain’s resignation.
“The suspension of two special secretaries is completely a wrong administrative decision. BJP strongly opposes such harassment of officials and demands Jain’s resignation,” he said.
Terming the suspensions illegal, the DANICS officers association had earlier written to the Union home ministry requesting the order be declared “null and void”.
A resolution adopted by association members on Wednesday explained: “The appointing and disciplinary authority for DANICS officers is the President of India, acting through the ministry of home affairs, and not the home minister, government of the national capital territory of Delhi, as specified under the rules governing disciplinary proceedings. The illegal order of suspension issued by the honourable minister (home) under CCS (CCA) Rules is strongly condemned.”
“The Delhi government can only recommend suspension,” an association member added, pointing out that a suspension order could only come from the lieutenant governor, with the MHA’s permission.
This is the second time in a month that senior officers have taken up the suspension of their colleagues by the Kejriwal government. They’d recently protested the suspension of two SDMs following a demolition drive by railway authorities in the Shakur Basti slums.