Sunil Yadav, the 38-year-old safai karmachari with the Mumbai civic body who beat all odds earlier this year to get accepted at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) for its PhD programme is now struggling to get leave from his employers to pursue the course.
Yadav has been forced to knock on the Bombay high court’s door and seek intervention as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is refusing to grant him study leave. Yadav claims this is an “entitlement of BMC employees under Municipal Service Regulations Act”.
On Friday, a bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice BP Colabawala directed the BMC to grant him a “fair hearing and take a judicious decision”.The bench took note of Yadav’s submission that the Act allows an employee to take 24 months of study leave, but when he requested a 21-month leave in June this year, he was denied.
Yadav, who has been working with the BMC for 10 years, told the court he wrote to his immediate superior, the assistant head supervisor (Solid Waste Management Department), but is yet to get a response.
The BMC, on its part, argued that according to the rule, the applicant should be doing a course that will equip him better at his job. It argued Yadav’s PhD on ‘State Union and Labour Policies’ will not add any value to his job or to the corporation. Yadav argued the rules did not mandate the course should be directly linked to one’s work. He said the PhD will “equip him to collaborate with those employed in other branches of public service”.
He also pointed out that there were “28,000 safai karmacharis in the D- Ward (where he is employed) and there was no possibility of the work being affected in any manner”.
Yadav said he could not afford to quit his job for the degree as he has “his wife, two young children and his ailing grandmother to support.”
The HC is likely to take up the matter for further hearing on December 2 this year.