Anganwadi workers protest: Don’t issue more termination orders, Delhi HC orders govt
The plea said that in spite of the strike being legal, over 3,000 show-cause notices were issued to anganwadi workers and helpers and 150 termination orders were issued without any hearing and inquiry
The Delhi high court on Tuesday sought a response from the Delhi government on a plea challenging the termination of several anganwadi workers, and asked the authorities to not issue more such orders of termination.
Justice V Kameswar Rao issued a notice on the petition by Delhi State Anganwadi Workers & Helpers Union and granted four weeks to the Delhi government to file its response, saying “you will not add on” to the number of terminated Anganwadi numbers in the meantime.
The union in the petition said that it conducted a “peaceful and legal strike” between January 31 and March 9 after giving a notice of strike on January 27. The strike was called off after the government issued a prohibition on the strike and all the members were asked to report for duty immediately, it adds.
The plea said that in spite of the strike being legal, over 3,000 show-cause notices were issued to anganwadi workers and helpers and 150 termination orders were issued without any hearing and inquiry.
It contended that the issuance of the termination orders without due application of mind show “arbitrariness and vindictiveness at the highest level”.
While senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, urged the court to allow the terminated workers to come to work as an interim relief measure, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, favoured taking a “compassionate” view of the matter and said, “we will see what can be done”.
The Delhi government counsel said that the petitioners should avail the alternative remedy available to them under the Industrial Disputes Act for reinstatement.
The senior lawyer for the government said that no further termination orders would be issued in view of the pendency of the matter before the court.
The Delhi government said of 3,000 workers, several chose to come back to work after a notice was issued to them but a few did not.
The counsel for the petitioner said that Anganwadi workers worked on the frontline during the pandemic and the number of terminated workers was estimated to be almost 2,000.
“The number will not go high now that we are hearing the matter. Don’t precipitate. You are doing a lot of good work. Merely because they will not precipitate, it shouldn’t be seen as a stay and you will not work,” the court told the petitioner.
The matter will be heard next on April 13.