HC refuses urgent hearing on Delhi's sanitation workers' strike

A petitioner had moved the high court for urgent hearing citing 'break out of epidemic' as reason.

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New Delhi, Jan 9: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to give an urgent hearing on a plea seeking a direction to the East Delhi Municipal Corporation employees to end their indefinite strike, which began from January 5 due to non-payment of salaries.

"Why today? The matter can be taken up later also. List it for hearing tomorrow before the appropriate bench," a bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said.

 Delhi High Court

A petitioner, who claims himself to be a social worker, has moved the high court for urgent listing of the matter on the ground that if garbage is not removed, there will be "apprehension of break out of epidemic".

Advocate Sugriva Dubey, appearing for petitioner Salek Chand Jain, submitted that EDMC has committed a contempt of court by disobeying the Delhi High Court order that salaries to all its employees, including sanitation workers, should be paid by 7th of every month.

The counsel told the court that the Delhi government and the corporation should immediately be directed to release salaries to sanitation workers who went on strike, threatening to turn East Delhi into an eyesore of garbage-lined streets.

The petitioner also said that the authorities concerned be asked to impose Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against nearly 25,000 municipal employees of the EDMC, who went on a strike on January 5 over non-payment of the salary for last two months, bringing the services to a standstill.

The petition stated that the "salaries and other benefits be ordered to be given by the authorities on priority prior to the salary and other benefits being given to the chief minister, ministers and MLAs in Delhi, in the fact and circumstances of the case and in the interest of justice".

This is the third consecutive year when the municipal workers have gone on a strike due to non-payment of salary.

PTI

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