A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court praying that the sit-in protest by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues at the Raj Niwas be declared illegal and unconstitutional as it has brought the government machinery to a standstill.
Petitioner Hari Nath Ram, through his counsel Shashak Deo Sudhi and Dr Shashi Bhushan, prayed to the court to “issue a direction for discharging the chief ministerial obligations and responsibilities as the entire functioning of the Chief Minister office of NCT of Delhi state has been brought to standstill ever since the strike was called on”.
He also prayed for “directing the respondents to declare the hunger strike called by the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues as un-constitutional and illegal”.
As the strike by Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendra Jain and AAP leader Gopal Rai enters the fourth day, the petition also prayed for “comprehensive guidelines for the legislative members not to indulge into the acts of constitutional crisis including the strike for the executive bargaining in the interest of justice”.
The petition is likely to come up for a hearing next week.
Strike is not a weapon for law-maker
Advocate Sudhi said strike is for the employee or the citizen for demanding his rights and not for the law-maker.
“How can a lawmaker go on strike? There is no provision for the same in the Constitution and the Chief Minister takes the oath of the Constitution. Then how can he go on strike,” asked Sudhi.
“The strike is stoppage of all the public works for the purpose of acceptance of the demands by the strikers. It is submitted that in India, unlike America, right to strike is not expressly recognized by the law. It is appropriately mentioned that the Trade Union Act 1926 for the first time provided a limited right to strike by legalizing certain activities a registered trade union in furtherance of trade disputes, which otherwise breach of the common economic law. The Trade Union Act 1926 also recognizes the right to strike…now a day’s right to strike is recognize only limited extent under the Trade Union Act 1926. However, the strike is normally called by the employee against the law maker to provide for their redressal of grievances as per their existing law. As such, there is difference between the strike called by the law abider and the strike called by the law maker.
“…There is no statutory or legal provision empowering the chief minster to go on the strike. It is a complete violation of the Ministerial responsibility. The right to strike is not absolute right, but it flows from the fundamental rights. The democratically elected members cannot indulge in unconstitutional acts like hunger strike and it is a weapon that empowers the dis-empowered to fight in oppressive cases when no constructive option is left. It is the weapon of the last resort taken out of exasperation. It is this weapon which provides an opportunity for collective bargaining,” said the petition.
“The instant confrontation between the Chief Minister and LG is a grim example of how the politics have crept in the governance of the state. The state is fully crippled by administrative paralysis as the state is having no constitutional administrator in respect to the area covered under the state list. The vacuum created by the hunger strike is required to be constitutionally dealt with to protect the constitution of the country,” it said.
Kejriwal and his colleagues are on a strike at the LG office since Monday demanding that direction be issued to IAS officers to end their “strike”, action be taken against officers who have struck work for “four months” and approval be granted to the government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration to the poor.