The Delhi High Court today said that the three municipal corporations of the national capital deserve benefits in accordance with the recommendations of the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission (DFC) and asked the AAP government not to make it an ego issue.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar directed the AAP government to "forthwith" release amounts according to the 4th DFC to East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) and North Delhi Municipal Corporation to enable the two corporations to pay wages of their employees, past and present.
The court observed that despite having the funds, the Delhi government does not appear willing to implement the 4th DFC, under which the civic bodies have been allotted more funds than they are receiving at present.
"Do not stand on ego and say that since Government of India is not paying you, you will not pay the municipal corporations," it said.
The court said the amounts are to be released within four weeks and would be for the period from November 1 last to March 31 this year, saying it was imperative to ensure salaries are paid and civic facilities are not affected.
The bench said that lack of funds with the corporations would not only affect the morale of its employees, but would indirectly impact the civic amenities being provided to the citizens.
The court, however, made it clear that its interim order would be confined only to the EDMC and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (North MCD).
While issuing the direction, the court noted that the Delhi government has taken no steps to ensure implementation of the Fifth DFC and directed it to give a tabulation of the amounts payable to the three corporations under the 4th and 5th DFCs.
The bench directed the Delhi government to place on affidavit its calculation based on which it has been releasing funds to the corporations.
A direction was also issued to the Centre to indicate on affidavit how much funds the Delhi government was entitled to and the basis for deciding the same.
The court was hearing a batch of writ petitions on providing adequate funds to all the local bodies, including the three municipal corporations, to enable their proper functioning.
With the directions, the bench listed the matter for hearing on August 28, saying that the issues raised in the PILs requires serious consideration.
During the hearing, the Delhi government said it has in April this year released funds which are much more than what was indicated under the 4th DFC.
It also said that it has given over Rs 3,000 crore as loans to the corporations.
However, the EDMC and North MCD said it was not sufficient and added that the amounts given as loans were much less than what they were entitled to get under the 4th DFC.
They also said that the amount paid was utilised to pay the arrears of salaries and pensions of its employees.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)