The Supreme Court on November 21, slammed the Delhi Government for a breach of undertaking given to it to provide funds for the Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS) project and directed it to transfer the funds meant for advertising to the project.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia however put the order in abeyance for a week and said that the order would come into force if the Delhi government did not provide the required funds for the project.
While hearing an application filed by NCRTC against not releasing the funds for the project despite the court’s order, the bench pulled up Delhi’s AAP government and warned it of attaching its advertisement budget.
“Why you (Delhi government) have not complied with (court’s) order? We will stay your (Delhi Government’s) advertising budget. We will attach it and take it here,” said Justice Kaul said.
Expressing disappointment with the stand of the Delhi Government, the apex court observed that there was a “gross breach” of the assurances given by the Delhi Government.
It said in April, the apex court had specifically mentioned that the balance amount payable by the Delhi Government was to be paid promptly for the timely implementation of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor, the Delhi-Alwar corridor and the Delhi-Panipat corridor.
During the hearing, the bench noted that the budgetary allocation for advertisements for the last three years was almost Rs 1100 crores and for this financial year is Rs 550 crore.
“Gross breach of directions by this court of assurance given on behalf of state government… In April, we had specifically mentioned the balance amount payable by the Delhi Government and directed them to pay the amount promptly. Amount is not paid… Details show that the three-year budgetary provision was almost Rs 1100 crores, while for this financial year was Rs 550 crores… If such national projects are affected, and if money is being spent on advertisement, we would be inclined to ask the money to be directed to the infrastructure,” said the bench.
As senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing the Delhi government, sought one week’s time, the bench listed after a week, and said if the fund allocation is not made in the meantime, then the order will come into operation.
“We are thus constrained to direct the funds allocated for advertisement purposes to be transferred to the project in question. At the request of the counsel’s request, we will keep this order in abeyance for a period of one week. If the funds are not transferred, the order will come into operation,” ordered the bench.
In its application, National Capital Regional Transport Corporation (NCRTC) the apex court had directed the Delhi government to contribute to the Delhi-Meerut RRTS Project Rs 500 crores within ten days.
However, there is still a balanced amount of Rs 415 crores left. The Delhi government in spite of a delay of more than six months since the order dated April 21, 2023, was passed by the apex court has released only an amount of Rs 80 crores against the due amount which is highly disturbing/discouraging and clear non-compliance of the order passed by this court, the application stated.
It added that giving early approval and making budgetary provisions for the Delhi-Alwar corridor and Delhi-Panipat corridor and release of the instalment amount of Rs 100 and 50 crores respectively for these corridors for the financial year 2023-24 is pending.
(with inputs from ANI)