MCD sanitation staff can’t do 'gundagardi' in name of protest, warns HC

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New Delhi, Apr 8 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Thursday said that while the MCD sanitation employees and unions have a right to protest against non-payment of salaries, they cannot create nuisance or do 'gundagardi' by throwing garbage on roads and restrain staff from working.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli made it clear that such conduct will not be spared and stern action will be taken against the erring union leaders and their members.

The MCD Swachhata Karamchari Union leaders, who gave the strike call, appeared before the court and assured it that they will not resort to any such conduct in future.

The court said since the president and secretary of the union have appeared, it does not wish to purse the bailable warrants issued earlier against them.

“We have impressed upon the president and secretary of the union that though they are entitled to exercise their rights as provided by the law to raise their grievances, they do not have a right to create nuisance and take law into their hands by spilling garbage on roads and restraining others from performing their duties,” the bench said.

The high court disposed of a petition by East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) seeking direction to Delhi Police and Delhi government to ensure that there is no obstruction in the performance of its duties, its officials and employees, including safai karamcharis who are willing to work.

EDMC had earlier said several safai karamcharis union had called for a strike in March and that they shall be restrained from throwing garbage on streets or hampering functioning of the corporation.

On Thursday, EDMC standing counsel Manu Chaturvedi informed the court that a permanent grievance redressal cell has been set up by the corporation at zonal and head quarter level to address the employees’ grievances.

He said no strike or protest has been carried out by the unions after the court’s March 4 order.

During the hearing, advocate Prakash Kumar, representing the president and secretary of the union, claimed that they were not served with the court notice and petition copy and assured that they will not call for strike in future.

To this, the high court said, “If there is a grievance, you have a right to raise it and nobody is taking away your right. But you cannot create nuisance and ‘gundagardi’. We will not allow this and will come down heavily with an iron hand.” The bench said, “We will not permit anyone to take law into their hands. ‘Gundagardi’ will not be allowed. Spilling of garbage on streets is not allowed and you cannot restrain others from doing their duties.” The EDMC, in its plea, had also sought direction to the authorities to provide necessary assistance so that day-to-day operations of the corporation can be run smoothly and no inconvenience is caused to the members of the general public.

A batch of petitions raising grievances regarding non-payment of salaries to all classes of municipal employees is pending before the high court which has been passing orders, as a result of which, all Group D employees have been paid their outstanding salaries till December, 2020.

The EDMC had recently told the court that they have cleared all the dues, including salaries and pension, till March 31.

Due to non-payment of salaries in a timely manner and for pressing their other demands, the safai karamcharis of the MCDs were striking work and carrying out their agitation.

The high court had earlier also directed the safai karmacharis of the MCDs and their unions not to take law into their hands by causing obstruction in removal of garbage or by strewing it on the streets of the city.

They were also directed not to obstruct or block the ingress and egress into the offices of the MCD, which were asked to take strict disciplinary action against any safai karmachari found to be indulging in such like activities. PTI SKV SA