Safai Karamcharis protest at NLU-Delhi. Image used for representational purpose only. | Image Courtesy: Bar and Bench
A student and a workers’ representative of the dismissed safai karmacharis of the National Law University in Delhi, who were ordered to be re-instated by the Labour Minister of Delhi, were detained by the police on Friday, June 19 when they approached the university administration seeking implementation of the order.
The NLU Students-Workers Solidarity has released a press note on June 19 stating the harassment faced by the workers and the students when they approached the administration. The Labour Minister’s order dated June 17 was issued after a sustained struggle by the students and safai karamcharis for nearly six months since January 2020. The order had directed “the University to immediately cancel
the existing housekeeping contract with Rajendra Management Group, reinstate the wrongfully removed Safai Karamcharis, assess the requirement of Karamcharis as per the established norms of PWD and Administrative Reforms Department and float a fresh tender. It was also affirmatively stated that the Karamcharis, all this while were to be directly employed and paid by the University. The copy of the Written Order was duly received by the University as well as the Safai Karamcharis on June 17, 2020”.
However, the administration denied the immediate implementation of the order instead sending an email statement saying that “it has no authority to implement the said directions in its present form in view of the policy questions involved in this and therefore, it will place the Written Order before the Executive Council and General Council. It has also placed the Order before the Office of Chancellor, NLU-Delhi seeking his approval,” the press release noted.
Following this, when the students and workers approached the university, one of the student leaders Ekta Tomar who was accompanying the safai karamcharis and one of the workers, Neetu were detained by the Delhi Police and were threatened to be slapped with the Epidemic Act. This despite the fact that the assembled workers and the accompanying student had clearly stated that they were not there to protest but only to get the Labour Minister’s order implemented.
According to the factual report of the incident released by the NLU Students-Workers Solidarity, “Police threatened to book them under Section 188 IPC and Section 144, CrPC. As they were recording their ordeal, their phones were taken away and they were asked to submit them at the main gate of the Police Station. At the Police Station, Police Officials namely, Anuj Yadav and Mahavir Singh made a mockery
of the Written Order and of the struggle. Ekta and Neetu were told by the officials that the Written Order was illegal and ambiguous. That the Labour Minister’s Order had no value. The University’s Executive Council, Governing Council and the Chancellor were the ones who had the decision-making power.”
It was only after intervention by lawyers and fellow activists that the detained were released with a warning that “they would be booked by way of an FIR under Section 188 and 144 if they were found in the vicinity of the University”. The students were later released
The factual report of the incident is given below.