Won’t say it again and again”: Supreme Court rap for Delhi over funds

New Delhi, Nov 28 (FN Bureau) The Supreme Court came down hard on the Delhi government Tuesday over delays in paying its share of funds – around 500 crore – for the Regional Rapid Transit System, or RRTS, which is a semi-high speed rail corridor linking to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Alwar in Rajasthan and Haryana’s Panipat. “Problem is you have to be arm-twisted to pay money you are obligated to. We will not say it again and again. Pay what you have to…” a top court bench of Justices SK Kaul and S Dhulia said. The Delhi government, which reportedly released 415 crore last week, told the court it had now paid all its dues. However, demanding “absolute compliance”, the court then listed the matter for Saturday. The strong comments come after the Delhi government was given a week to stump up its share. An irked court had then told the Delhi government “you have not complied with our order… can’t take us for granted”, and that it would transfer funds from the ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s spending on ads – highlighting its achievements to voters – if the directed sum of 415 crore is not made available. As today’s hearing began, Justice Kaul said, “At your request, we kept in abeyance for a week (order) to comply with assurance given to this court.

Now, please give document which shows compliance.” To this the counsel for the Delhi government said “some transfers” had been made, but this was countered by the senior advocate appearing for the National Capital Region Transport Corporation. “There has (only) been partial compliance… four months have passed, nothing has come.”The court waved aside questions of payment for other projects and said, “What you (the Delhi government) have to pay elsewhere… if required, we will deal with it. But here the limited point is whether our order has been complied with,” Justice Kaul underlined. Earlier, the Delhi government had expressed its inability to contribute the required funds, after which the court sought a record of funds spent by the ruling AAP on ads over the past three years. On July 24, top court noted the Delhi government, which had been told to contribute 500 crore for this project, had spent more than 1,000 crore on ads in the last three financial years. The Delhi government had been told to provide 415 crore within two months. Last week the Delhi government counsel assured the court full payments will be made. The RRTS project – an 82-km stretch costing nearly 32,000 crore – entails semi-high speed rail corridors connecting Delhi to Alwar, Panipat, and Meerut. Around 13 km is within the national capital. The project is managed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation – a centre-states venture.