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Delhi L-G approves rejig of DASS cadre; employees, AAP cry foul

The control over the services department had been a bone of contention between the AAP government and L-G’s office. The issue has to be heard by the regular bench of the Supreme Court.

delhi Updated: Jul 17, 2018 12:31 IST
Ashish Mishra
Ashish Mishra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi L-G,Lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal,AAP
Combo photo of lieutenant governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal (L) and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (PTI File Photo )

Lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal on Monday gave “in-principle” approval for restructuring the Delhi Administrative Subordinate Services (DASS) and Steno cadre, triggering sharp reactions from the Aam Aadmi Party and employees.

The ruling party said it was a “violation” of the Supreme Court’s decision and the L-G was trying to “cling on” to the “services” department to enable the union home ministry to control Delhi government officers while the DASS employees sought the chief minister’s intervention.

The Supreme Court had on July 4 defined the role of the elected government and the L-G in the city administration. The control over the services department had been a bone of contention between the AAP government and L-G’s office. The issue has to be heard by the regular bench of the Supreme Court.

The Delhi Government Employees Welfare Association (DGEWA) expressed unhappiness over the L-G’s decision, saying it was different from the one given by the Delhi Cabinet in 2015, which had promised a separate cadre for DASS employees and provided them parity with the Central Secretariat Services (CSS) cadre.

The DASS employees said the restructuring should have been done in coordination with the elected government.

A communication by the secretary (services) to the joint secretary (UT), MHA, on Monday stated, “…lieutenant governor, Delhi, in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Article-309 of the constitution … has approved the implementation of report of the (SN Sahai) committee with modifications in respect of DASS Cadre, which do not have any inter-service implications.”

The Delhi administration gets officers from the IAS, DANICS (Delhi Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Services) and DASS cadres. While IAS and DANICS are recruited through the Union Public Service Commission, DASS employees are appointed through the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board.

According to senior government officials, restructuring of the DASS and Steno cadre is crucial as they form the backbone of the administration. There are at least 8,000 of them.

The DASS employees on Monday wrote to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, seeking his intervention in what they said was the “unlawful induction of DASS officers into entry grade of DANICS”, which comes under the MHA.

President of the association DN Singh said that keeping in view the acute stagnation of almost 22-25 years of grade-I DASS officers, the Delhi Cabinet on December 31, 2015, had decided to restructure the cadre on the CSS pattern and delink grade-I from DANICS. The Delhi Assembly, had on March 26, passed a resolution to implement the cabinet order.

“This decision has neither been rejected by L-G nor has it been kept reserved for consideration by the President of India. The restructuring of DASS cadre is a subject matter of the Delhi government, following the SC’s decision. We condemn the decision. Our association will pursue the matter with the elected government,” Singh said.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj termed the move as a “mockery” of the Constitution and a blatant attempt to “subvert and thwart” the SC decision. He said the SC clearly said the L-G had “no independent” powers.

“The Cabinet decision would have ensured promotions for DASS employees up to the level of additional secretaries and that it would have become a Delhi-specific cadre. But under the L-G’s decision, promotions would be up to the level of joint secretary only and DASS would continue to be a feeder cadre of DANICS,” he said.

The Delhi government refused to comment. “We can comment on the order only after we have examined it,” said a government spokesperson. The L-G office did not respond to phone calls and text messages sent by HT.

The recommendations, which have been forwarded to the MHA, pertain to creation of more posts under Grade I and Grade II in DASS and residency periods for promotions. These have been among the primary demands of the association for several years.

First Published: Jul 17, 2018 12:31 IST