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Signatories to the letter include Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Sanjay Parikh, PUCL National President Ravi Kiran Jain and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.
Lawyers, activists, and alumni of National Law University, Delhi (NLU Delhi) and other law schools have urged the University administration to act on the Delhi Labour Minister's order to reinstate the safai karamcharis (house-keeping staff) stated to have been wrongfully terminated by the University in December last year.
A letter addressed to the NLU Delhi administration in this regard notes that the workers' hardships following their termination have only worsened amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It states,
"The unprecedented crisis, worsened by the lockdown, aggravated the workers’ already crumbling socio-economic condition caused by five months of unemployment rendering them unable to meet even their basic needs. Majority of them had begun to contemplate reversemigration to their villages."
The house-keeping staff, engaged under a contract with White Fox and Golden, were terminated from service in December last year. NLU Delhi entered into a contract with Rajendra Management Group (RMG) to hire around 30 new workers instead.
The termination of the safai karamcharis was questioned by the students of NLU Delhi. After a series of protests and various representations, the students finally got an order from Labour Minister Gopal Rai directing NLU Delhi to reinstate the workers on June 17.
However, the NLU Delhi administration has not, as of yet, implemented the Labour Minister's order on grounds that the matter requires the approval of its Executive and Governing Councils.
An effort by the workers and a student to meet the administration to follow up on the implementation of the Labour Minister's orders led to their being forced off the premises by policemen on June 19. The. University, however, denied being aware of the incident while also reiterating its stance that the Labour Minister's June 17 order was unsustainable in law.
In solidarity with the students protesting over this state of affairs and the terminated workers, over 250 signatories have now endorsed a letter urging for the immediate reinstatement of the safai karamcharis.
Signatories to the letter include Senior Advocates Colin Gonsalves and Sanjay Parikh, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, PUCL National President Ravi Kiran Jain and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.
Read the Letter: