Companies get aid: HC orders Delhi authorities to provide funds

NEW DELHI: In a major relief for two cash-strapped corporations in the capital, the Delhi high court observed on Monday that “prima facie” it was convinced that they must get the benefit of the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission’s recommendations. It has set a one-month deadline for the Delhi government to release the money.

“Do not stand on ego and say that since Government of India is not paying you, you will not pay the municipal corporations,” a bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar told the state government, asking it to release the dues with effect from November 1, 2017.

The interim order is confined to the and the , which are facing a funds crunch and are unable to pay salaries and pensions.

A Delhi government spokesperson said they were waiting for the order and would comply if there were any dues. The spokesperson claimed that the corporations had been paid more than their due.

Govt told to submit chart explaining amounts due

HC also noted that even as Delhi government has been sitting on the Fourth DFC, it has failed to take any steps to ensure implementation of the Fifth DFC and directed it to submit a chart explaining the amounts payable to the three corporations under the two DFCs. The bench has, meanwhile, asked Centre to file an affidavit indicating the funds Delhi government was entitled to and the basis for deciding the same.

The bench was of the view that despite having funds, Delhi government did not appear willing to implement the Fourth DFC, under which the civic bodies have been allotted more funds than they are receiving at present. It said lack of funds would not only affect the morale of corporation employees but also directly affect the quality of facilities they provide citizens. There has been a rash of strikes by sanitation workers as a direct fallout of this crisis. The court said the amounts were to be released within four weeks and would be for the period from November 1 last year to March 31 this year, saying it was imperative to ensure salaries are paid and civic facilities not affected.

Set up in 2009, the Fourth DFC had reviewed the financial position of civic agencies and made recommendations on sharing net proceeds of taxes, duties, tolls and fees levied by Delhi government.

HC’s interim order came while hearing a batch of writ petitions seeking directions to provide adequate funds to all the local bodies, including the three municipal corporations, to enable their proper functioning. The bench has listed the matter for hearing again on August 28.

This is the second major intervention by HC in ensuring that recommendations of the various finance commissions are implemented. In 2016, it had directed LG and the AAP government to ensure that civic bodies were given funds according to recommendations made in Third DFC.

HC had also ordered LG and the government to ensure that recommendations made by Fourth DFC, along with an explanatory memorandum on action taken, were tabled in the next assembly session.

Finance commissions are formed to define financial relations between Centre and state.

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