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Delhi HC vacates stay on termination of services of assembly fellows

New Delhi: The Delhi Court on Tuesday vacated the interim stay on the termination of services of assembly fellows and associate fellows engaged with the Delhi Assembly Research Centre.

The high court vacated the stay in view of an order passed by the Supreme Court, declining the stay on the letter issued by the assembly secretariat.
Earlier, on September 21, the high court had directed that they shall continue till the next date of hearing on December 6 and that stipend be paid to them. This order was challenged before the High Court.

Justice Subramonium Prasad said the apex court has declined to stay the order passed on July 5 this year by dismissing an intervention application. Propriety demands that the court ought not to have passed any interim order which had the effect of staying the order on July 5 this year and other consequential orders.
"In view of the above, this court is inclined to vacate the stay granted by it in its Order dated 21.09.2023," Justice Prasad said in a judgement passed on Tuesday.
However, it is always open for the petitioner to approach the Apex Court to get appropriate clarifications, Justice Prasad added.

The High Court noted that the letter of July 5 was specifically challenged by the Government of NCT of Delhi in an Intervention Application wherein it was specifically argued before the Apex Court that the said letter must be stayed.
In the order of July 20, the apex court chose not to stay the letter of July 5.

"The contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that since the apex court has not passed any order in the intervention application it is open for this court to consider the same, cannot be sustained," Justice Prasad said.
It was specifically argued before the apex court that the Lt. Governor has terminated the contract of 437 consultants engaged with statutory bodies under the GNCTD or with the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

The bench noted that the genesis of the whole controversy lies in the letter of July 5 by which the Lt. Governor has disengaged the fellows and associate fellows of the DCRA.

On the other, an application was filed by the respondents for the vacation of the said order. 
In the application, it was mentioned that the 2023 Ordinance has been challenged in the Apex Court by the Government of NCT of Delhi by filing a petition in 2023.
It was stated that in the said Writ Petition an application, being an intervention application, was also filed seeking a stay of the letter on July 5, discontinuing the engagement of fellows and associate fellows in the Delhi Assembly Research Centre (DARC).

In the present application it was contended that since the issue is pending before the apex court, this court ought not to have restrained the respondents from discontinuing the services of the petitioners herein as fellows in the DRC, as it would amount to a stay of the letter of July 5, which the Apex Court chose not to interfere with.

Earlier, seeking a response from the Delhi assembly secretariat, the high court had directed that the services of Assembly Fellow/Associate Fellows engaged with the Delhi Assembly Research Centre shall continue till the next date of hearing on December 6 and stipend be paid to them.
A petition was moved by 17 such fellows challenging the termination of their contacts by the Delhi legislative assembly secretariat.

The bench had sought a response from the legislative assembly secretariat as well as the Services and Finance Department within two weeks.
The court directed that till the next date of hearing, the services of the petitioner shall not be discontinued and they shall be given a stipend.
The bench noted that the assembly speaker earlier had said that the reasons for termination were not applicable to the services of the petitioners.
The high court issued a notice to respondents and sought an explanation on the sudden change of attitude by the assembly secretariat. 

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