‘AAP govt liable to pay civic bodies as per 4th Delhi finance panel’

Delhi High Court lists matter for further hearing on January 8 next year

The Delhi High Court on Thursday told the Aam Aadmi Party government that it was liable to pay the three municipal corporations in the city in accordance with the recommendations of the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission (4th DFC).

Salaries, pensions

A Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V.K. Rao said if the Delhi government has objections to releasing funds, as claimed by the three municipal bodies under the 4th DFC, the Chief Secretary will have to file an affidavit indicating reasons for it. The court listed January 8 as the next date of hearing.

“It is your [the Delhi government’s] liability to pay as per the 4th DFC,” it said.

The court, during the hearing, asked the corporations to inform the Delhi government within three days about the amount of funds they need to pay the salaries and pensions of their employees according to the 4th DFC recommendations.

The Bench said on receiving the claim, the Delhi government will release the funds to the corporations. However, Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra objected to this saying the amounts claimed have to be verified first.

The Bench disagreed with the contention at first. When Mr. Mehra persisted that no interim order be passed without giving a full hearing to the government, the court directed that if there was any variation in the amounts claimed by the corporations, then it should be mentioned by the Chief Secretary in the affidavit.

The court also declined to issue any direction to the Central government despite the Delhi government’s claim that the Centre too has to contribute towards the funding of the corporations.

The Bench said it had twice in the past — on April 16 and May 25 this year — directed the Delhi government to implement the 4th DFC recommendations and said it will not proceed with the instant matter till its orders are complied with.

Mr. Mehra contended during the hearing that the Delhi government has complied with the directions of the court.

He also alleged that the North and East Delhi Municipal Corporations were in a poor financial condition due to poor management, more cleaning staff and “ghost employees”.

The Bench was hearing a batch of writ petitions on providing adequate funds to all local bodies, including the three municipal corporations, to enable their proper functioning.

On April 16, the High Court had directed the Delhi government to release the amounts according to the 4th DFC within four weeks for the period from November 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, saying it was imperative to ensure salaries are paid and civic facilities are not affected.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:59:56 PM |

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