New Delhi: Delhi High Court today directed the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) to pay 50 per cent salary arrears of 35 of its staffers and provide records of staff appointed by it without approval of the Lieutenant Governor.
The order came on a day DCW chief Swati Maliwal was summoned as an accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the recruitment process of the women’s panel, with a lower court directing Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) to further probe and identify her associates in the crime.
The direction to pay the salary of the 35 DCW employees, including several legal counsellors, support staff and a psychologist, came after a plea was moved to include them in the petition seeking payment of salaries after 62 workers were granted a similar relief on December 22 last year.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the commission to provide the relevant records pertaining to these employees after central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the LG, said the records need to be verified to ascertain how these people were appointed in the first place.
The December 22 order had come on workers’ plea, filed through advocate Amita Singh Kalkal, for a direction to DCW to disburse salary which had not been paid since September 2016.
Meanwhile, an affidavit has been filed on behalf of the LG claiming that DCW Chairperson, Swati Maliwal, had “no power or authority to arbitrarily, unilaterally, unauthorisedly engage or appoint employees” in the commission.
It has been contended in the affidavit that since every appointment corresponds to a financial obligation which impacts the public exchequer, therefore DCW should have approached the competent authority if it wanted more manpower instead of itself engaging people.
“It is further submitted the entire exercise taken by DCW is tainted with illegality, arbitrariness and financial improprieties,” the affidavit said.
Some of the alleged irregularities enumerated in the affidavit are unauthorised implementation of projects, arbitrary award of work worth Rs 2.65 crore for setting up mobile help line services, unauthorised expenditures and procurement of vehicles.
The LG’s office has also said that investigation by the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) and other authorities, including the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), had showed that the appointments of the employees were not done as per the law.
During the last date of hearing, Maliwal had told the court that the employees were engaged as DCW was facing severe manpower shortage and the government had not met its staff requirements.
The petitioners have claimed that with their help DCW has dealt with 11,696 complaints since July 2015 and in view of the credible work being done by the commission with their help, the Delhi government transferred 181 helpline programmes to them.