Delhi High Court today told the AAP government to inform it by August 19 what decision it has taken on the representation of BSES to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prevent its contractual employees from going on strike.
The contractual employees of BSES had on July 22 gone on strike affecting power supply in south and west Delhi, and the discoms apprehend a repeat of the same but on a larger scale.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the government to inform the court about its stand by August 19 as the union of the contractual employees of BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from August 22.
The court brushed aside the government counsel’s argument that it would be difficult to take a decision by Friday as tomorrow 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 of Delhi being held to ransom” and added that a decision has to be taken by August 19 as invoking ESMA after August 22 would not serve any purpose.
It issued notice to the government, Lieutenant Governor and the union of the contractual employees, seeking their responses before the next date of hearing on August 19.
The order and observations came on the pleas of BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, which provide power to a major part of the national capital, seeking directions to the Delhi government to invoke the Haryana ESMA.
The government, during the hearing, told the court that the two discoms’ representation was pending before the Power Department and any decision taken would then be put before the LG for approval.
The court, nevertheless, directed the government to place before it on August 19 what decision has been taken on the representations of the discoms.
The discoms have contended that apart from providing electricity to the people of Delhi, it was also responsible for power supply to hospitals, for street lighting, traffic signals and the airport.