A strike to protest against another strike has landed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and it’s leaders in the High Court. Today, in Delhi High Court, a bench of Justices A.K Chawla and Navin Chawla held a hearing for two petitions, one against the sit-in strike by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and followers and the other against an alleged strike by the IAS officers of the National Capital’s government.
The High Court asked Delhi Governments lawyer, “Thing is that you’re sitting on a ‘dharna’. Who authorized them to sit on a dharna like this?”
Delhi Govt Lawyer: IAS officers yesterday accepted they are not attending meetings called by ministers
Delhi High Court: Thing is that you’re sitting on a dharna. Who authorized them to sit on a dharna like this?
Lawyer: It’s an individual decision.
Delhi HC: Is it authorized?
— ANI (@ANI) June 18, 2018
This question came from the bench when they observed that CM Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia along with cabinet minister Gopal Rai and Health Minister Satyendra Jain have been on a sit-in strike since 11th of June at the Raj Niwas, the official residence of Anil Baijal the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi. According to a Hindustan Times report, Kejriwal and team have made the waiting room of the LG’s office a camping ground for their sit-in strike.
Times Of India report informed that on the HC’s question regarding the authorization of the sit-in strike, the Delhi government lawyer could only say that it was the “ministers’ individual decision.” The High Court further added, “This can’t be called a strike. You can’t go inside someone’s office or house and hold a strike there,” The bench adding further pointed out that a Dharna or Strike is to be held outside an office or at the door.
It seems like a clear case of a “strike done wrong”. The motive of this sit-in strike by the AAP ministers was to demand to the Lieutenant Governor to issue a directive to the IAS officers to end their alleged strike. As per an ANI tweet, the lawyer representing the Kejriwal Government told the court that the IAS officers yesterday acknowledged that they are not attending any meetings called by the ministers. On Sunday, on one hand, AAP leaders along with thousands of party workers started a march towards the Prime Minister Modi’s residence from Mandi House in support of the sit-in protest at the LG’s office. They were stopped by the police near the Parliament Street Police Station. On the other hand, Delhi’s IAS Association held an unusual press conference, something never done before which marked their concern for their own safety. While addressing the media, bureaucrats countered AAP minister’s claim denying of being on a strike.
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Association’s secretary, Manisha Saxena told the reporters, “Whatever gathering or meeting it is we don’t feel safe, (therefore) we don’t attend. However, we are attending all statutory meetings. The misinformation, which is being spread, that we are on strike is completely false and baseless. We are all at work, conducting all public inspections, attending meetings. Everybody is working to their utmost sincerity, vigour and dedication.” The atmosphere of mistrust and fear is believed to be the product of an alleged assault by two AAP MLA’s in February on Anshul Prakash, the Chief Secretary, while he was at Kejriwal’s residence.
The latest reports on the sit-in protest inform that Health Minister, Satyendra Jain was shifted to the LNJP hospital last night as his health was deteriorating after fasting for a week. ANI tweeted informing the doctor’s statement saying, “After watching his (Jain’s) ketone report, we decided to admit him to the hospital. His blood pressure is normal now. He is having some breathing issues, but stable. Dy CM’s ketone level is also high. Delhi CM is fine; he isn’t on a hunger strike: Dr. JS Passey, LNJP hospital.”
After watching his (Satyendra Jain) ketone report, we decided to admit him to hospital. His blood pressure is normal now. He is having some breathing issues, but stable. Dy CM’s ketone level is also high. Delhi CM is fine, he isn’t on a hunger strike: Dr JS Passey, LNJP hospital pic.twitter.com/4xU6ASKBLs
— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2018
Later, even Dy. CM, Manish Sisodiya, was also taken to the LNJP hospital as his health deteriorated.
#Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia being taken to LNGP hospital after his ketone level reached 7.4. He has been on an indefinite hunger strike for the past 6 days at LG’s residence against the alleged strike by the IAS officers of Delhi government. pic.twitter.com/XSJMxXOOJr
— ANI (@ANI) June 18, 2018
Several Ministers from opposition parties have so far come in support of the Kejriwal government. CM Mamta Banerjee tweeted on Sunday, “I, along with CM’s of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, have requested PM today to resolve problems of the Delhi government immediately” The bench appointed for the hearing has also decided to include the IAS Association as party to the proceedings. And has adjourned case till Friday, June 22.