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Do you want courts to conduct proceedings from ‘Chaupals’? Delhi HC raps AAP govt for not giving funds to district courts

The High Court said that the district courts generate huge revenues via the collection of fines, traffic challans, and court fees. Still, the Delhi government failed to sanction funds for basic requirements.

On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court slammed the Kejriwal-led AAP government for not sanctioning funds for the basic requirements of the district courts. The High Court said that the district courts generate huge revenues via the collection of fines, traffic challans, and court fees. Still, the Delhi government failed to sanction funds for basic requirements. It further asked the Delhi government if they wanted to kill a golden egg-laying goose.

A bench comprising of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad said, “Rs 115 crore collected through virtual traffic fines by district courts. What do you (Delhi government) want? You want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg?”

More than 200 crores collected as court fees, challans, and fines

Reetesh Singh, Officer of Special Duty (Examination), informed the high court that the district courts in Delhi collected fines of Rs. 80 crore and sold court fees worth 90 crores in 2018-19 that were deposited with the Delhi government. In 2019-20, the district courts collected Rs.89 crores as fines, and Rs.102 crore court fees were sold. From July 2019 to 12th October 2020, the traffic courts collected traffic challans worth Rs. 115 crore.

After learning about the funds collected, the bench said, “Despite the aforesaid finances generated by the district courts, they are being starved of funds for the basic requirements of running a court which cannot be countenanced.”

The subordinate judiciary ‘running from pillar to post’ for funds

The court was informed that the sanction of funds could not be further delayed as around 150 more judicial officers joined the office in the coming months. It also directed the Delhi government to purchase 23 vehicles for judicial officers out of 119 requested by the courts. The court also noted that the Delhi government had collected Rs. 3.4 crore from the candidates as fees who applied for the posts.

The bench also mentioned that the Delhi government is making the subordinate judiciary “run from pillar to post” to get funds sanctioned to recruit supporting staff. The court further said, “Thank God we have our own funds.” While rapping the Delhi government, the court asked if they want the judicial officers to conduct the proceedings from ‘chaupals’.

Delhi High Court to issue funds intermediately

In its order [PDF], the bench has directed the Delhi High Court to release Rs. 2.52 crore immediately from its own fund to facilitate the recruitment process. The funds will be returned to the Delhi High Court when the Delhi Government sanctions funds to the District Court. The process must complete before 31st December 2020.

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