Funds row: SC asks Delhi finance secy to release money, makes DJB party to AAP govt’s plea

05:13 PM Apr 05, 2024 | PTI |

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Delhi government’s Principal Secretary (Finance) to release funds to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and made the utility, responsible for supplying potable water to the national capital, a party to a plea filed by the ruling AAP dispensation alleging non-release of money.


A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for Principal Secretary (Finance), that the Delhi government, which has filed the plea against its own official, has not made the DJB a party.

“They have not made the DJB a party. This is the authority which is making requisitions for the funds,” Jethmalani said.

“We will implead DJB (as a party) to find out from them (about the dues)…In the meantime, please release funds which are liable to be paid,” said the bench.

At the outset, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi government, said the minister concerned has written six times to the finance secretary and yet the entire fund has not been released.


Observing that it wanted to know about the outstanding funds from the water utility itself, the bench said these issues needed to be sorted out. The court has now fixed the Delhi government’s petition for further hearing on April 10.

Earlier on April 1, the top court had issued a notice to Delhi’s Principal Secretary (Finance) on the plea of the AAP government. It was alleged that the official was not releasing funds to the DJB despite budgetary approval by the legislative assembly.

”My civil servants do not listen to me,” the city government had said and added that Rs 1,927 crore was yet to be released to the DJB.

The bench had not issued notice to the office of the lieutenant governor after taking note of the submissions of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi that the LG has no role in the disbursal of funds by the finance department of the Delhi government.

The Delhi government had said a total of Rs 4,578.15 crore has been received by the DJB for financial year 2023-24, inclusive of Rs 760 crore received on March 31 and Rs 1,927 crore was still outstanding.

The Arvind Kejriwal government had moved the top court on March 20 over the issue in the latest run-in involving the bureaucracy and the AAP dispensation in Delhi.

The CJI had assured the AAP government that it can always order the release of funds meant for the DJB even after they lapse on March 31.


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