DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society, Plot No. 16, Sector 4, Dwarka, New Delhi 110 078
As this is a case of labour rights violation, Delhi Government’s office of Labour Commissioner has issued a notice to the managing committee (MC) members of DPS Housing Society.
By Rakesh Raman
According to the new Vigilance Manual 2017 of India’s top anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), corruption is manifested in various forms such as bribery, nepotism, willful action or willful inaction to benefit someone or to deny benefit to someone known or unknown. It also states that corruption includes cases of favoritism and failure to follow laid down processes leading to unintended benefit to someone or denial of benefit to the deserving.
In the already spiraling spate of illegal activities at the DPS Housing Society in Dwarka, the managing committee (MC) members of the Society are now embroiled in a serious labour exploitation case.
Five security guards, who were appointed by the MC as employees in the Society, have filed a complaint with the office of the Labour Commissioner of Delhi alleging that they had been facing increased torture inflicted upon them by the MC members of the Society.
Abuse of Labour Rights
In their complaint particularly against DPS Housing Society President Neeraj Vaish and Secretary M.N. Sampathkumar, the security guards allege that they were not being paid minimum wages while they were forced by the MC members to stay on duty continuously for 12 hours every day without paying overtime wages.
The guards allege in their complaint that Neeraj Vaish and M.N. Sampathkumar always told them that their balance money is being deposited in a separate fund, but they were never told about the details of that (secret) fund and they never received the money from that fund.
Thus, in order to deprive the security guards of their minimum wages and overtime payments, Neeraj Vaish and M.N. Sampathkumar told lies to cheat the poor guards.
According to the CVC’s definition of corruption stated above, Neeraj Vaish, M.N. Sampathkumar, and other MC members will also face corruption charges because they “failed to follow laid down processes leading to denial of benefit to the deserving.”
When the guards objected to this torture, Secretary M.N. Sampathkumar through a letter dated September 3, 2017 suddenly terminated their employment from September 30, 2017 without stating any reason for the job termination.
Sampathkumar ordered the poor guards to leave the job with a notice of less than a month, although they were supposed to be given 3 months’ notice as per the DPS Housing Society’s written agreement with the security guards. The agreement was signed last year by the then President M.M. Shukla, who had resigned under mysterious circumstances before completing the term.
The current President Neeraj Vaish and Secretary M.N. Sampathkumar refused to honor that agreement under the pretext that it was not proper, although they never mentioned about the impropriety of the said agreement for more than a year when guards were working in the Society.
Wrong Termination Decision
When guards complained in the Labour Commissioner’s office, these MC members even called the police to threaten them and justify their unscrupulous termination decision. According to the guards, the MC members also asked them to leave the guard room when they were on duty. The guards were virtually treated like bonded labourers or slaves by the MC members which is an offence according to the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
The MC members terminated the guards’ services arbitrarily without getting the decision approved in the General Body Meeting (GBM) of the Society members – which is mandatory.
They also hired new security guards without discussing it in the GBM and without informing the members about the hiring process that the MC followed. The MC also failed to show the comparative proposals of different security agencies to Society members while the security contract runs into lakhs of rupees. This is a gross violation of the RCS (Registrar Cooperative Societies) rules and the violation can be termed as corruption according to the CVC’s definition of corruption stated above.
While the MC members control public money worth crores of rupees, they are running the Society work like it is their personal shop.
The people familiar with the case believe that the MC members are behaving like the villains of a Hindi movie. They fail to realize that since the guards are thrown out of their jobs, it will be difficult for them to get a new job because the new employers will always hesitate to employ terminated workers.
The MC members have, in fact, mercilessly attacked poor guards’ livelihood. They will also face social persecution at home and in the society when others will come to know that they have been thrown out of their jobs.
The individual MC members are personally responsible for this inhuman and unlawful act. So, along with other punishment prescribed in various laws that they would have violated in this case, these MC members – including Neeraj Vaish, M.N. Sampathkumar, and other past and present MC members – should personally compensate the guards instead of using Society funds for the purpose.
Unlawful Resistance by MC Members
As this is a case of labour rights violation, the Office of Joint Labour Commissioner (SWD) issued a notice dated 25.09.2017 to Neeraj Vaish, President of DPS Housing Society. But Neeraj Vaish and other MC members ignored that notice arrogantly.
On September 29, 2017, inspectors from the office of Labour Commissioner Delhi visited the DPS Housing Society office to meet the MC members – particularly President Neeraj Vaish and Secretary M.N. Sampathkumar.
The MC members argued illogically that since the housing society is governed by the office of the RCS (Registrar Cooperative Societies, Delhi Government), they will follow only the RCS orders. In other words, they resisted the inspection ordered by the office of Labour Commissioner – which must be treated as a case of obstruction of justice.
Neeraj Vaish and Sampathkumar failed to explain how RCS rules were preventing them to comply with Labour Laws for which they were questioned with a formal notice by the Labour Commissioner’s office. They also failed to explain how they terminated the services of the guards without following the GBM rules prescribed by the RCS office.
Similarly, when a couple of months ago Delhi Police – under the directions from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) – came to check illegal car parking in the DPS Housing Society building, the MC members hoodwinked the police by saying that only RCS rules apply on them.
Strangely, Delhi Police accepted this weird argument and did not bother to get the illegal car parking stopped. The illegal parking in the building is posing a serious risk to people living in the Society, as it is preventing the entry of fire-fighting vehicles and ambulances in emergency situations. Although the Assistant Director (Vigilance) of the Delhi Police informed the RCS office, the RCS office, as usual, did not take any action against the MC of DPS Housing Society.
Mysterious Protection from RCS Office
During the past about a decade, the successive MCs of DPS Housing Society have been committing numerous illegal activities under the mysterious protection that they enjoy from the RCS office.
As an excuse to protect the lawless MC members, the RCS office gives a big importance to the decisions of the General Body Meetings (GBMs). But despite receiving numerous complaints from the affected members, the RCS office has refused to realize the fact that GBMs have become a big fraud at DPS Housing Society.
For example, the MC’s permission to allow illegal car parking to about 40 members is a kind of bribe to those members to win their vote and support in elections and GBMs – and thus get even the illegal decisions approved by the majority of members – which is in fact a group of law-breaking members.
Similarly, to fraudulently win members’ support, the MC has allowed illegal building alterations in individual flats. Thus, all GBMs which are mostly attended by such law-breaking members are bogus. Multiple objections have been raised by the aggrieved members about the faulty process of holding GBMs but strangely the RCS office has always ignored them.
When a group of senior citizens requested the RCS office to save them from dust and noise pollution that will come from the planned construction activity at the DPS Housing Society, the RCS office again did not take any action against the MC members. People fail to understand the secret behind RCS officials’ extreme attachment with the MC members of DPS Housing Society.
The DPS Housing Society MC members are committing all unlawful acts under the garb of an ‘elected body.’
Society Election and Corruption
The MC members boast that they have come unopposed in the MC office. That has been happening for the past many years for no honest person wants to contest election and become part of the MC because of the persisting mess in the Society’s accounts.
Only greedy people whose eyes are on making easy money become MC office bearers and scuttle all attempts to get Society financial records investigated by the authorities. The MC members also boast about their connections with the politicians, police, and authorities indicating that no action can be taken against their frauds.
Shockingly, that may be true. Despite their visible malpractices, the RCS office has refused to take action against the MC members.
The RCS office is working hand in glove with the MC members to the extent that it has shelved a CVC-directed inquiry against the DPS Housing Society MC members for unspecified reasons.
The inquiry was ordered by the Directorate of Vigilance of Delhi Government – under CVC’s direction. Although the RCS office had formally initiated the inquiry against the MC members, it was scuttled without giving any reason.
CVC Inquiry Letter References:
RCS: F.47/Coop./1350/GH/SW/2011/7051 dated 4.5.2011
Directorate of Vigilance: F.27/2/2011/DOV/1080 dated 15.2.2011 forwarded by CVC
CVC: O.M. No. 1716/10/8/104428 dated 01.10.2010 and O.M. No. 1716/10/8/117161 dated 24.01.2011
Although all the details of the CVC-directed inquiry should be available on the RCS website as well as the DPS Housing Society’s website, these are missing from both the sites.
As the MC of the DPS Housing Society is working in a totally dictatorial manner, it is using the Society website to propagate only its own interests while it does not upload the important communications including objections from other members on the website.
Recently, I had requested Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to thoroughly investigate corruption in DPS Housing Society which has been persisting for many years. In July 2017, I was informed by chief minister’s office that this case has been sent to the Anti Corruption Branch for investigation, which is still pending.
Meanwhile, the residents have started a signature campaign to take the signatures of the Society residents / members to get the present MC dissolved through the RCS office and get a government administrator appointed to streamline the working of the Society.
The signed letter was submitted in the RCS office on August 28, 2017. But the RCS office has not yet dissolved the MC, although it has become a situation of severe humanitarian crisis at the DPS Housing Society.
Now It is expected that the RCS office will immediately dissolve the present MC so that the inquiry could be held in a fair, unhindered manner.
Most would know that the RCS office has a long history of corruption and many of its officers have been caught even by the Central Bureau of Investigation. [Click here to read details of CBI cases.]
So, hopefully, RCS office will discharge its duties honestly and immediately dissolve the MC before holding a thorough inquiry in the DPS Housing Society case.
The entire case of DPS Housing Society is explained at the following link:
By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. He has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.