Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
[Representational Image] Following the arrest of 10 AAP MLAs, Kejriwal also warned party members that the coming days could be "very ugly." Picture: Delhi CM Arvind KejriwalIANS

Almost 200 Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)-cadre officers in the Delhi government have threatened to go on a "mass leave" on 31 December following the suspension of two senior civil service officers by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Wednesday. The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday declared the suspension "non est" (null and void). 

Special secretary (Prosecution) Yashpal Garg and special secretary (Prisons) Subhash Chandra had refused to sign a file on a Cabinet decision to increase the salary of public prosecutors. They have been suspended on charges of insubordination. 

The DANICS Officers' Association has threatened to go on strike as the Delhi government does not have the authority to suspend civil servants. According to regulation, they need to recommend the suspension to the Lieutenant Governor (LG), who will then seek permission from the Centre.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has suspended officers earlier as well, including two sub-divisional magistrates for failing to rehabilitate the Shakur Basti residents and three transport department officials for "wrongdoings".

Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said he has no information about the strike. He also said the suspension is an administrative matter since a Cabinet decision failed to be implemented.

Adding to already strained relations with the Centre, Jain said the Lieutenant Governor (LG) doesn't have the power to call for a blanket ban on all Delhi government decisions. He indicted the officers as well, saying they can't say "LG has asked us not to work". The order, he said, should have come in writing from the LG.

"It's clear it's a conspiracy, if officers had grievances they should have gone to the chief minister and not the LG," Jain told ANI.

The IAS (AGMUT) Officers Association have come out in support of the 200 DANICS-cadre officers and have declared that they too would take a half-day leave on 31 December. Almost 90 IAS officers work in the Delhi government. 

"IAS officers will also go on a half-day leave tomorrow (31 December) supporting the DANICS officers' association. There was a joint meeting of IAS and DANICS officers today (Wednesday, 30 December) wherein a resolution was passed against the suspension of two DANICS officers working the Home Department," said an IAS officer in the Delhi government.

"We have not got any official communication from the association. If they want to go on leave, they can do so," Delhi government spokesperson told DNA about the DANICS-cadre officials' strike.

With so many senior level officers on leave, implementation of the odd-even rule will suffer in Delhi, as many of the officers are involved in the short-term policy to curb air pollution in the world's most polluted city. The AAP government, however, says it won't stop working if the officers go on strike.