NEW DELHI: A large number of bureaucrats who had allegedly gone on mass leave in 2015 to protest against the Delhi government's decision to suspend two DANICS cadre officers, had availed casual leave in their individual capacity, the Delhi High Court has been informed.
The Delhi government told this to a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, which was hearing a plea seeking action against the bureaucrats who went on mass leave to protest the suspension of the two officers on December 29, 2015.
"The records do not conclude that IAS officers and DANICS officers had resorted to any illegal action by way of availing casual leave. It is apparent that the officers had availed casual leave in their individual capacity.
"It is quite natural that officers either take casual leave or earned leave during the year-end subject to the availability of adequate credit of leave and it was nothing unusual," the counsel for the Delhi government submitted.
He also informed the bench that on December 31, 2015, the leave taken by many officers was sanctioned by respective competent authority and under no circumstances, the grant of leave was denied or curtailed by any authority.
Taking note of the Delhi government's submission, the court disposed of the public interest litigation (PIL) on the ground that the grievance raised by the petitioner stood satisfied.
On December 31, 2015, around 200 DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) cadre officers had gone on mass leave after two senior civil service officers of the Delhi government's Home Department were suspended for refusing to sign on a cabinet decision file.
Seventy IAS officers had also gone on half-day leave that day reportedly in solidarity with the agitators.
The Union Home Ministry had termed the suspension by the Delhi government as null and void.
The plea by one Indu Prakash Singh had said the Supreme Court had held that "public servants do not entertain legal right to strike" and therefore the act was "illegal".
It had also said that the officers, by going on mass leave, had violated Central Civil Services Conduct Rules which prohibited them from doing so.
However, the AAP government's department in its affidavit filed early this year had said "At no point of time, any case of unauthorised absence from duty was reported. Action could have been taken by the respondent (government) only if there was any violation of conduct rules." The Delhi government in its affidavit had also turned down the contention of the petitioner that two lakh employees went on strike, saying it was "a figment of his imagination and far from reality".
It had also objected to the petitioner's prayer for an inquiry to identify the officers who had allegedly instigated the unauthorised mass leave and sought disciplinary proceedings initiated against them.
The petitioner had said that mass leave by the officers "should be deemed as break in service".
"The inaction on the part of the government sends a wrong message to the citizens and reinforces the public perception that India is democratic only in form and in reality different standards apply to the governors and the governed," the plea had stated.