The Supreme Court today took a firm stance against the Delhi Government for its failure to fulfill commitments regarding the allocation of funds for the Regional Rapid Rail Transit System Project. Expressing deep disappointment with the government's inaction, the Court issued an order to redirect the government's advertisement funds towards the project. However, the Court opted to delay the implementation of this order by a week, offering the government an opportunity to voluntarily allocate the funds for the project within that time frame.
Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia, presiding over the bench, criticized the Delhi Government for what they deemed a "serious breach" of its promises. The Court recalled its specific directive from April, highlighting the outstanding balance of Rs 415 crores owed by the Delhi Government and urging prompt payment. Emphasizing the significance of the RRTS project in curbing pollution, the bench underscored that the budget earmarked for government advertisements over the past three years totaled nearly Rs 1100 crores, with an allocation of Rs 550 crores for the current fiscal year.
Expressing concern over the state government's priorities, the bench remarked, "While budgetary provision is the responsibility of the state government, if crucial national projects suffer due to excessive spending on advertisements, we would be inclined to redirect those funds to support such projects."
Representing the Delhi Government, Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora requested a week's extension. Justice Kaul indicated that the matter would be revisited after the stipulated week, emphasizing that if the funds were not allocated during that period, the Court's order would take effect.
"We are left with no choice but to instruct that funds designated for advertisement purposes be redirected to the specific project in question. At the request of the counsel, we will temporarily suspend this order for one week. However, if the funds are not allocated, the order will be enforced," stated the Court order.
The Court's decision stemmed from an application filed by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), highlighting the Delhi Government's failure to honor its commitments. In a previous hearing, the Delhi Government had assured the Supreme Court in July that it would make necessary budgetary provisions for the RRTS project, subsequent to being questioned about the allocations made for government advertisements.
Justice Kaul, leading the bench, had earlier remarked, "If INR 1100 crores can be expended on advertisements in the past 3 financial years, certainly, contributions can be made to infrastructure projects."