BMC safai karamchari yet to be granted leave


A week after National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) asked it to approve study leave of safai karamchari Sunil Yadav, BMC is still to respond.

With its seven-day deadline ending Monday, NCSC has issued a fresh notice to BMC and asked municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte and additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani to be present before the commission on February 28.

"Our full-member commission will be in Mumbai on February 28 to review atrocity cases in Maharashtra. We have summoned BMC, too," said NCSC vice-chairperson Raj Kumar Verka.

Kunte and Adtani did not reply to phone calls and text messages.

On February 12, NCSC had told BMC to grant Yadav unconditional leave within a week or face legal action under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The commission was in Mumbai after PMO asked it in a letter to intervene in the Yadav case, details of which were first published in The Indian Express on February 9.

Yadav, a class-IV employee belonging to the Valmiki community, has sought leave to complete his masters programme at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

BMC ignored his series of applications. In response to an RTI query, it said a "safai karamchari is not qualified to avail the leave" because what he will learn is not connected to his duties.

The BMC rule book, however, does not mention any such thing.

At a public hearing, Verka said no civic body can be above the constitution. "By quoting a rule book, BMC is trying to shirk responsibility."

The Indian Express had reported on February 9 that denied leave, Yadav, now in the second semester of the two-year masters in globalisation and labour course at TISS, was working nights and attending classes during the day,

He is a first-generation literate who took up the job of a conservancy worker in 2005 after his father died. He is the sole breadwinner of his family and is helping wife and younger brother complete their education.

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