Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Friday approved a proposal of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to terminate the services of all civil defence volunteers with effect from November 1, with AAP government sources saying they will approach the Supreme Court if this happens, setting off a fresh tussle between the two sides. The lieutenant governor also directed the chief minister to consider recruiting the volunteers to be terminated as home guards.
The development came hours after the CM asked Delhi home minister Kailash Gahlot to appoint the civil defence volunteers as home guards and depute them as bus marshals. “Approving the proposal to end the CDVs’ illegal recruitment and deployment, Saxena has raised serious livelihood concerns and directed the CM that the CDVs who lose their job in the process should be considered for appointment as home guards, about 10,000 positions of whom, the L-G has approved recently,” an official at L-G Secretariat said.
The L-G has also flagged the issue of the CDVs not getting their salary for the past six to seven months and expressed dissatisfaction over the fact the relevant file was sent to him even though the minister concerned and the CM were fully competent to take a decision on it on their own, he added. Amid a tussle between the L-G office and the Delhi government, hundreds of civil defence volunteers started an indefinite sit-in protest outside the Delhi Secretariat to demand their unpaid dues.
Following the development, AAP government sources said they will approach the apex court. “If Delhi L-G terminates the services of civil defence volunteers, we will approach the Supreme Court. Some of these volunteers are deployed as bus marshals, who play a crucial role in ensuring women’s safety on buses. We will not compromise on women’s safety,” said a government source.
L-G office sources, meanwhile, accused the AAP government sources of “spreading lies” and sharing “misleading” information. “The proposal to terminate civil defence volunteers was sent to L-G office by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, which was only approved by the Lt Governor. Will Delhi government go to Supreme Court against the chief minister?” an L-G office source said.
The L-G office sources said the proposal to terminate the services of civil defence volunteers was received on October 20. However, the government source claimed no such proposal was sent to the L-G office by the CMO.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal asked the Delhi home minister to “appoint” civil defence volunteers as home guards and depute them as marshals in public transport buses, officials said. In a note, the CMO said “legal objection” has been raised about the continuation of civil defence volunteers as bus marshals.
It has been said civil defence volunteers cannot be engaged in regular duties and that they can be called only during any disaster. “Therefore, it has been suggested that home guards be appointed as bus marshals instead of civil defence volunteers,” said the note.
“I have separately proposed to LG that civil defence volunteers should be continued as bus marshals till adequate number of home guards are appointed in their place. If the bus marshals are suddenly removed, it will not be good for the safety of women travellers,” the CM said, according to the note.
Since the existing civil defence volunteers who are working as bus marshals have the required experience, a plan should be developed to appoint them only as home guards and continue them as bus marshals, unless there is any specific complaint against any individual.
“So, if we appoint the same set of people as home guards and put them on bus marshal duty, one one hand the government will get experienced people and on the other hand their jobs will continue,” the note stated.
With inputs from News18