The Union home ministry on Thursday struck down the suspension of two of its senior officers by the Delhi government, escalating the confrontation between the two sides.
PTI quoted a spokesperson of the MHA as saying that the suspension of the two DANICS-cadre civil service officers by the Arvind Kejriwal government was “null and void.”
Yashpal Garg, special secretary (prosecution), and Subhash Chandra, special secretary (prisons) were suspended on Wednesday after they refused to sign a file on the cabinet decision to increase salary of public prosecutors.
More than 200 officers from the DANICS cadre (acronym for NCT of Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service) have threatened to go on mass leave on Thursday in solidarity with the suspended officers.
Officers of the service are recruited directly through the Civil Services Examination and are responsible for the administrative functions of the national capital region and the union territories.
If DANICS-cadre officers in Delhi go on mass leave, preparations for the odd-even scheme, which will come into force on January 1, may be affected as most of these officers are looking after the projects pertaining to the road-rationing plan.
The AAP government has defended the suspension saying it was an administrative matter and that a cabinet decision was not implemented. They also hinted at a conspiracy behind the decision of the officers.
“I told you that this was planned. Has IAS officers ever been on strike anywhere?” said Delhi minister Satyendra Jain.
Jain 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.
Meanwhile, Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Satish Upadhyay 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.
He alleged the home minister was pressurising officials under his ministry to sign a file pertaining to the revision of pay scale of its standing counsel Rahul Mehra.
“When the officers refused to sign the file regarding the unconstitutional hike in pay and allowances, Jain not only insulted the officers but also suspended them,” he said.