‘Can’t take court for granted’: SC tells Delhi govt to transfer ad funds towards RRTS project

It gave the AAP government one week’s time before its order comes into operation.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
Arvind Kejriwal against images of government ads in newspapers.
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The Supreme Court today told the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi to transfer funds allocated for advertisements towards the Rapid Rail Transit System project.

This is after the apex court in July had ticked off the AAP government for its delay in implementing the project, which will connect Delhi, Meerut and Ghaziabad. The government is expected to allocate a balance of Rs 415 crore towards the project. 

The bench of Justices Sajay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia had been hearing a case on deteriorating air quality in the national capital when it also took up the issue of the delay in implementing the RRTS project, reportedly a more “eco-friendly” mode of transport.

According to LiveLaw, the bench said it had “little option but to direct that funds allocated for advertisement purposes be transferred to the project in question”. If the funds weren’t transferred within a week’s time, the bench added, “the order will come into operation”.

On July 3, the Delhi government had told the Supreme Court it didn’t have adequate funds to allocate towards the RRTS project. The court directed it to file an affidavit on its ad spending over the last three years.

The affidavit revealed that Arvind Kejriwal’s government had spent Rs 1,073 crore during the three-year period. The court promptly told the government to “either pay or we will attach your advertisement budget”. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the Delhi government, then said the payment towards the RRTS project would be made.

Which is why at today’s hearing, the Supreme Court pulled up the government for not doing so.

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Bar and Bench quoted the bench as saying: “If this is the only way that states will cooperate, then we have to do this. You didn’t even seek an extension. You cannot take court for granted.”

It should be noted that the Delhi government’s spending on ads increased by 4,273 percent over 10 years ending 2021-22.

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