Trouble is brewing in the city bureaucracy with senior officers of the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) deciding to go on mass leave on Thursday, protesting the “illegal” suspension of two colleagues by the AAP government.
In a show of solidarity, the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories) cadre IAS association will join their protest by going on half-day casual leave.
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.
The two DANICS officials posted with the home department — special secretary (prisons) Subhash Chandra and special secretary (prosecution) Yashpal Garg — were suspended on Tuesday for “insubordination” after they allegedly refused to sign cabinet notes pertaining to a salary hike for public prosecutors and prison staff.
Terming the suspension illegal, the DANICS officers association has written to the Union home ministry requesting the order be declared “null and void” — a development that could open up yet another turf war between the state and the Centre.
A resolution adopted by association members on Wednesday sought to explain why the suspension order was illegal: “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.
A government spokesperson responded: “We have not got any official communication from the association. If they want to go on leave, they can do so.”
The IAS association, which also met during the day to discuss the “illegal” suspension, said, “We will compensate for it (half-day leave) with a full day of work on Saturday, which otherwise is a holiday.”
This is the second time in a month that senior officers have taken up the suspension of their colleagues by the Arvind Kejriwal government. They’d recently protested the suspension of two SDMs following a demolition drive by railway authorities in the Shakur Basti slums.