‘Don’t obstruct garbage cleaning in garb of protest’


The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that sanitation employees and unions have a right to protest against non-payment of salaries, but they cannot create nuisance or do “gundagardi [hooliganism]” by throwing garbage on roads and restrain staffers from working.

A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli said that stern action will be taken against the erring union leaders and the members.

During the hearing, the Swachhata Karamchari Union leaders, who called for the strike, appeared before the Bench and assured that they will not resort to any such conduct in future.

The High Court had on March 4 issued bailable warrants for production of the president and the secretary of the union before the court as they failed to appear before the court on the last hearing.

However, taking note of the submission of the president and secretary of the union on Thursday, the High Court said it does not wish to purse the bailable warrants issued against them earlier.

With this, the High Court closed a petition by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) seeking direction to provide necessary assistance so that its day-to-day operations can be run smoothly and no inconvenience is caused to the members or the general public.

The EDMC had also sought 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.

“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’,” the High Court said during the hearing. “Spilling of garbage on streets is not allowed and you cannot restrain others from doing their duties,” it added.

Earlier, due to non-payment of salaries in a timely manner and for pressing other demands, the safai karamcharis of the civic bodies had then went on strike and carried out agitation.

The High Court had in February directed safai karmacharis and 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.

It had also directed not to obstruct or block the ingress and egress into the offices of the civic bodies. The High Court had also directed the municipal corporations to take strict disciplinary action against any safai karmachari, found to be indulging in such like activities.

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