The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Delhi Government and Central Government on a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 6(2) and Section 14(1) of the Civil Defence Act, 1968.
The bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh sought the response of the Government of NCT Delhi and Centre through the Director-General, Directorate of Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards and listed the matter for further hearing on November 29, 2021.
The plea stated that section 6(2) of the act empowers the Controller of Civil Defence Corp to discharge any member without assigning any reason if they are of the opinion that continued presence of any member of the Corps is undesirable, and Section 14(1) of the act puts an absolute bar against availing judicial remedy against any order made in exercise of any power conferred by or under the act.
The Petitioner Farukh Khan stated that he had served the Corps since 2014 and has completed various training courses during his tenure with the Civil Defence but on March 23, 2020, he was discharged from the membership of the Civil Defence Corps without assigning any reason, plea stated
“The appeal preferred against the discharge order was also rejected without assigning any reason,” the plea stated.
Petitioner sought court’s direction to Delhi Government to reinstate him in call-out duty along with damages for loss of duty allowance with effect from the date of discharge.
The plea stated that he was orally told by the Deputy Controller that an FIR has been registered against executives of JSM NGO under section 188 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) on March 23, 2020 and because the petitioner is a secretary of the said NGO, his continued presence in Civil Defence is undesirable.
It is submitted that the said FIR was registered against NGO officials for opening their office during lockdown for distributing masks. It is also submitted that the Petitioner was neither present at the place of incidence nor he was named in the FIR.
Petitioner’s lawyer Rajiv Agarwal stated that section 6(2) of the act violates the right of the petitioner to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation as guaranteed under Article 19(g) of the Constitution of India.
“Section 6(2) of the Act excludes the application of the principle of natural justice without citing any exceptional circumstances for which the provision could be applied,” the plea added.
The members of Civil Defence are being engaged by the government of NCT of Delhi to perform work of regular and perennial nature in its various offices.
“It is submitted that members of Civil Defence are being deployed in DM, SDM and Tehsildar offices to perform the works which are usually done by permanent government employees. For many volunteers, including the petitioner, the honorarium earned by working on call-out duties, are the only means of livelihood. The right to livelihood is a facet of the right to life,” the plea said.