HC asks Govt about decision on ESMA agnst discom staff strike

New Delhi, Aug 17 (PTI) Delhi High Court today told theAAP government to inform it by August 19 what decision it hastaken on the representation of BSES to invoke the EssentialServices Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prevent its contractualemployees from going on strike. The contractual employees of BSES had on July 22 gone onstrike affecting power supply in south and west Delhi, and thediscoms apprehend a repeat of the same but on a larger scale. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the government to informthe court about its stand by August 19 as the union of thecontractual employees of BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna havethreatened to go on an indefinite strike from August 22. The court brushed aside the government counsel’s argumentthat it would be difficult to take a decision by Friday astomorrow is a holiday, saying if courts were expected to work"overnight" and "expeditiously", why not them. The court also asked "are you okay with the people ofDelhi being held to ransom" and added that a decision has tobe taken by August 19 as invoking ESMA after August 22 wouldnot serve any purpose. It issued notice to the government, Lieutenant Governorand the union of the contractual employees, seeking theirresponses before the next date of hearing on August 19. The order and observations came on the pleas of BSESRajdhani and BSES Yamuna, which provide power to a major partof the national capital, seeking directions to the Delhigovernment to invoke the Haryana ESMA. The government, during the hearing, told the court thatthe two discoms’ representation was pending before the PowerDepartment and any decision taken would then be put before theLG for approval. The court, nevertheless, directed the government to placebefore it on August 19 what decision has been taken on therepresentations of the discoms. The discoms have contended that apart from providingelectricity to the people of Delhi, it was also responsiblefor power supply to hospitals, for street lighting, trafficsignals and the airport. PTI HMP PPSARC


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