The Supreme Court slammed the Delhi government for not fulfilling its commitment to allocate funds for the Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS) project. The court directed the government to transfer the funds originally designated for advertising to the RRTS project.
However, the implementation of this order has been temporarily suspended for a week. The court specified that the order would take effect if the Delhi government fails to provide the necessary funds for the RRTS project within the given timeframe.
During the hearing of an application filed by the NCRTC, the bench reprimanded the AAP government in Delhi for not releasing funds for the project despite a court order. The bench issued a warning, indicating the possibility of attaching the government's advertisement budget.
Justice Kaul said, "Why you (Delhi government) have not complied with (the court's) order? We will stay your (Delhi government's) advertising budget. We will attach it and take it here." The apex court expressed disappointment with the Delhi government's position, noting a "gross breach" of assurances previously given by the government. The court highlighted that in April, specific instructions were issued, emphasizing the prompt payment of the balance amount by the Delhi government to ensure the timely implementation of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor, the Delhi-Alwar corridor, and the Delhi-Panipat corridor.
While hearing, the bench observed that the allocated budget for advertisements in the past three years amounted to nearly Rs 1100 crores, with the current financial year's allocation set at Rs 550 crores.
"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.
Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing the Delhi government requested a one-week extension during the hearing. The bench scheduled the next listing for a week later, emphasizing that if the fund allocation is not completed within this period, the order will take effect.
"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.
The NCRTC's application urges the apex court to direct the Delhi government to promptly contribute Rs 500 crores to the Delhi-Meerut RRTS Project within ten days. Despite a lapse of over six months since the court's order on April 21, 2023, the Delhi government has only released Rs 80 crores, leaving a balance of Rs 415 crores. The application highlights concerns about non-compliance and emphasizes that early approval and budgetary provisions for the Delhi-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat corridors, along with the release of Rs 100 and 50 crores respectively for the financial year 2023-24, remain pending.
Image source: ANI