w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Seema Shukla v/s New Delhi Municipal Corporation & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- TO THE NEW PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72900DL2006PTC235208

Company & Directors' Information:- B L AND CO NEW DELHI PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1968PTC004910

Company & Directors' Information:- SEEMA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U26920MH1962PTC012363

Company & Directors' Information:- NEW INDIA CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U36999TN1940PTC001776

    W.P.(C). No. 3851 of 2020 & CM. APPLs. Nos. 13785, 13786, 13787 of 2020

    Decided On, 01 July 2020

    At, High Court of Delhi

    By, THE HONOURABLE MS. JUSTICE PRATHIBA M. SINGH

    For the Petitioner: Sameer Jain, Siddharth Jain, Angad Sandhu, Love Gupta, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1, Anil Grover, Standing Counsel, Noopur Singhal, Mishal Vij, R2, Shadan Farasat, ASC, Bharat Gupta, Ruchika Sharma, Advocates.



Judgment Text


(Oral)

1. This hearing has been held through video conferencing.

2. The Petitioner is a music teacher, who is working in Atal Adarsh Vidyalaya School, Moti Bagh-I, New Delhi (hereinafter ‘school’). She was appointed in the school in the year 2000. The challenge in the present petition is to the office order dated 25th June, 2020 passed by Respondent No. 1 i.e. New Delhi Municipal Council (hereinafter ‘NDMC’) asking her to report on the morning of 26th June, 2020 for training to enable her to perform duties in the new Covid-19 testing facility centres being set up in the NDMC area.

3. Ld. counsel for the Petitioner submits that the Petitioner’s husband is suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) coupled with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Benign Prostate Enlargement and owing to overlap of COPD and Asthma, he was also hospitalised very recently. The Petitioner has two minor children, one of whom is a child with special needs. Accordingly, it is prayed that she may be exempted from performing Covid-19 duty, as directed by the office order dated 25th June 2020.

4. Mr. Anil Grover, Ld. counsel appearing for NDMC submits that the circular requisitions the services of teachers, who would be trained very quickly, as there are a large number of activities to be performed at the Covid-19 testing centres. It is also submitted that as per law, NDMC is entitled to requisition these services.

5. On behalf of Respondent No.2 i.e. the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (hereinafter ‘SDM’), it is submitted by both ld. counsels, that as an exceptional case due to the specific fact-situation and personal circumstances of the Petitioner, the Petitioner could be granted exemption from duty. However, Mr. Farasat submits that teachers are government employees and under the Disaster Management Act 2005, their services can be requisitioned during a pandemic. They further submit that whenever teachers or any other staff members, who have been requisitioned under such orders, have any special personal difficulties or circumstances, they can move an application before the SDM and the same shall be considered by the SDM.

6. In view of the submissions made on behalf of the Respondent, ld. counsel for the Petitioner does not press the larger issue on the reasonableness of the impugned order, so long as the Petitioner can be exempted on the ground of her special circumstances.

7. A perusal of the writ petition shows that the Petitioner is a music teacher in Atal Adarsh Vidyalaya School and she seeks exemption from performing her duties at covid-19 testing centres as her husband is unwell and is suffering from COPD which is a respiratory disease as also she has a child who needs special care. Moreover, the writ petition appears to have been filed as the Petitioner may not have been aware of the fact that exemption can even be sought.

8. Considering the overall facts and circumstances of the matter, i.e., the personal circumstances of the Petitioner who has to attend to a special child, the illness of her husband who has a respiratory disease and other co-morbidities, the Petitioner is exempted from reporting to the Covid-19 centre and from performing other such duties during the pandemic. This shall, however, not be considered as a precedent and shall also not be considered as a pronouncement on the merits of the various grounds raised in the writ petition. The questions of law raised herein are left open for adjudication in any other case. The Resp

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ondents shall also ensure that in future, when staff is requisitioned for such pandemic duties, they are informed of the fact that if there are any special circumstances, such as in the present case, a representation can be made by the staff to the concerned SDM, who would then consider the same. 9. The petition along with all pending applications is disposed of in the above terms.
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