Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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HC pulls up Kejriwal government for not abiding by its order on release of funds to corporations


NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled up the AAP government for not abiding by its order to release to the corporations the transfer duties, parking charges and deductions towards loan repayments within the stipulated time limits.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli told the Delhi government that the court had not said that the corporations would have to make an application for release of the transfer duties and parking charges and had instead directed on January 21 that these amounts, due upto December last year, be released within a week.

“What is this happening Mr Sethi? What is this conduct of your client? Is this the way your (briefing) counsel argues that they (corporations) have applied? What happens to our order then? Did we say they will apply and only then it will be paid,” the bench said to senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, who appeared for the Delhi government.

The remarks by the bench came after Delhi government additional standing counsel Satyakam argued in court that the transfer duties for December 2020 were not paid as the East Delhi Municipal Corporation applied for it only on February 18.

The lawyer for EDMC said it was not an application and it was a letter requesting the Delhi government to make payment in terms of the court order.

Not agreeing with the stand of the Delhi government, the bench said if the amounts are not released as per the January 21 order, it will direct the central government to release these amounts to the corporations out of the revenue sent to the Delhi government.

“We will do that. Please tell us why not,” the court told Sethi and gave one last opportunity.

The court said that it was not initiating contempt action only because Sethi was requesting not to at this stage.

It said that even delay in payment of the deductions made by Delhi government towards repayment of loans taken from it by the corporations amounts to non-compliance of its directions.

The Delhi government had been deducting amounts from the funds released to the corporations, towards repayment of loans taken from it by the civic bodies.

The court had earlier said that when RBI had imposed a moratorium on loan repayments due to COVID-19, the same principle ought to have been adopted by the Delhi government.

The bench on Monday directed that all amounts due to the corporations be cleared before the next date of hearing on March 9 and “non-compliance would invite serious action”.

The court was hearing various petitions relating to non-payment of salaries of employees and pensioners of different cadres by the three municipal corporations of Delhi — North, East and South.

The list of petitioners includes doctors, nurses, paramedic staff, safai karamcharis, teachers, class-IV employees, teachers and retired staff like teachers and engineers.

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