SC directs Kejriwal govt to redirect ad budget to RRTS project

NEW DELHI | Updated: 21 November, 2023 6:33 pm IST
Supreme Court (TNI photo by Sumit Kumar)

NEW DELHI: On Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi to transfer its advertisement budget for the current year to the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project. 

However, the order is slated to be suspended for a week. 

The order was passed by a two-judge bench led by Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia. They have scheduled the next hearing on November 28 “to see what you [Delhi government] have done” in the meantime.

The bench said that the Arvind Kejriwal government had forced their hand, as it still has not paid up its share of Rs 415 crore owed to the RRTS project despite repeated court orders and assurance from the government in a July 24 hearing. “You did not even come and seek an extension of time… You cannot take this court for granted,” Justice Kaul addressed senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the Delhi government.

 

Arora had requested the two-judge bench to not pass such an order at “one go”. The bench said that they were compelled to pass the order to make states comply. 

“We had specifically mentioned that ₹415 crore was payable by Delhi, for which budgetary provision was to be made. We had asked Delhi to pay the amount promptly as the project was meant to reduce pollution and had a vast impact,” Justice Kaul observed in the hearing on Tuesday.

The counsel for the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), overlooking the progress of the RRTS, said that the costs were escalating annually. 

The RRTS is a mass-transit network that is still under construction which is slated to cover a distance of Delhi-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat which is expected to reduce pollution in the national capital as well as its surrounding regions. 

The court noted that the budgetary provision for three years was ₹1,100 crore, while for the current financial year, it is ₹550 crore.

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