ANI Photo | Delhi HC issues notice on plea seeking restoration of interim order, release of salaries to research fellows

The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea seeking restoration of an interim order earlier passed in favour of Research Fellows of Delhi Legislative Assembly, which was later vacated by the High Court.
Their services were terminated in August this year. Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to the respondents on the plea moved on behalf of the research fellow.
The HC also asked the respondent to take instructions on the payment of the pending salaries of these fellows. The HC has listed the matter on November 6, 2023.
An application seeking restoration of interim order dated September 21, 2023, passed by the High Court has been filed. It has also sought direction from the Respondents to release the stipends of the Petitioners/Applicants for the period of July 1, 2023, to August 9, 2023.
The Delhi Court on October 3, 2023, vacated the interim stay on the termination of services of Assembly Fellow/Associate Fellows engaged with Delhi Assembly Research Centre.
The high court had vacated the stay in view of an order passed by the Apex Court declining to stay on the letter issued by the Assembly Secretariat.
Earlier, on September 21, the High Court directed that the order shall continue till the next date of hearing on December 6 and that the stipend be paid to them. This order was challenged before the High Court.
Justice Prasad had said that the Apex Court has declined to stay the Order of July 5, 2023, by dismissing an Intervention Application. Propriety demands that this Court ought not to have passed any interim order that had the effect of staying the Order dated July 5, 2023, and other consequential orders.
“In view of the above, this Court is inclined to vacate the stay granted by it in its Order dated September 21, 2023,” Justice Prasad said in a judgment.
Thereafter, an application was filed before the Supreme Court for clarification on the order dated July 20, 2023.
Advocate Gautam Narayan submitted that the Supreme Court on dated October 30, 2023, passed an order in the applications and has clarified that its order dated 20.07.2023 did not deal with the letter dated July 5, 2023, impugned by way of the present writ petition.
He also submitted that the Supreme Court also clarified that its order dated July 20, 2023, will not come in the way of this court from adjudicating all issues raised in the writ petition.
Advocate Narayan also submitted that the salaries for the months of June and July have not been paid to these fellows. This is festival season. He submitted the court to issue direction to issue salaries, he added.
The High Court, earlier, noted that the letter of July 5, 2023, 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 dated July 20, 2023, the Apex Court chose not to stay the letter of 05.07.2023.
“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 dated 05.07.2023 by which the Lt. Governor has disengaged the Fellows/Associate Fellows of the DCRA.
On the other, an application was filed by Respondents for 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 Intervention Application, was also filed seeking a stay of the letter dated July 5, 2023, 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 stay of the letter of July 5, 2023, which the Apex Court chose not to interfere with.
While seeking a response from the Delhi assembly secretariat, the high court had directed that the services of Assembly Fellow/Associate Fellows engaged with Delhi Assembly Research Centre shall continue till the next date of hearing on December 6 and stipend be paid to them.
Earlier, a petition was moved by 17 such fellows challenging the termination of their contacts by the Delhi legislative assembly secretariat

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