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HC issues warrants against sanitation union office-bearers after they miss hearings

The Delhi high court on Thursday issued bailable warrants against the secretary and president of one of the unions of sanitation workers for evading the proceedings of the court, despite several communications, on a plea filed by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) against the strike of sanitation workers
By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 11:56 PM IST

The Delhi high court on Thursday issued bailable warrants against the secretary and president of one of the unions of sanitation workers for evading the proceedings of the court, despite several communications, on a plea filed by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) against the strike of sanitation workers.

A bench of justice Vipin Sanghi and justice Rekha Palli also asked the members of the striking union to not put under siege the municipal corporation or throw garbage on the streets. This direction came after the judges were informed by advocate Manu Chaturvedi, standing counsel for the EDMC, that unions have sent a notice for resuming their strike, demanding salaries despite all salaries being cleared till January.

The EDMC also sought action against “miscreants” who were “illegally waylaying garbage removal trucks, threatening drivers and dumping garbage openly on the roads and streets”.

The court issued bailable warrants of 20,000 each against the president and secretary of MCD Swacchta Karamchari Union while noting that they have not joined the proceedings despite several communications to do so.

“Even on the last date (of hearing), attempts were made to contact them, but they did not join the proceedings. It appears to us that they are seeking to evade these proceedings and that cannot be countenanced. Issue bailable warrants against the president and the secretaryof 20,000 each to be executed through the SHO,” the court said in its oral order.

The bench, during the proceedings, told Mukesh Kumar, representing All Municipal Corporations Staff Union, that while the court is cognizant of the issues and has been passing orders to ensure timely disbursal of salaries to the workers of the municipal corporations, it cannot allow them to take law into their owns hands and spread “anarchy”.

Questioning the actions of the striking union to hold under siege the civic body office and dump garbage on the streets, the court said this is not a solution and workers should behave responsibly as they are doing an important job.

“We are cognizant about your problems and have been passing directions to release your salaries. But it is a very wrong thing to spread anarchy, gherao the office, dump garbage on the streets and obstruct the employees who are wanting to perform their official duties. We will not tolerate this,” the court said.

“We have also made it clear to him (Kumar) that under no circumstances will this court tolerate any action which tantamounts to taking law into their hands like spreading garbage and preventing those people who are wanting to attend duty despite a strike,” the bench noted in its order.

Kumar told the court that he has not received his salary for the past three months, even as the EDMC counsel claimed that the enumerations have been given till January. Advocate Suman Chauhan, appearing for the unions, told the court that even if the sanitation workers have been paid, the supervisor and some others have not been paid their salaries and pension.

The strike by sanitation workers of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), which began on January 15 demanding the payments of salaries pending since December 2020, was called off on February 5, after the EDMC cleared all dues.

However, the EDMC on Thursday told the court that they have again received a notice for resumption of the strike. The matter would be now heard on April 8.

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