Court dismisses plea against civic body over excess allowancesNovember 27th, 2008 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday dismissed a plea against New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) that some of its members were drawing allowances far in excess of their approved allocation. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar dismissed the petition, saying that it’s a policy matter.
Earlier, the court observed that “the NDMC cannot make resolutions to fix facilities for themselves. They have to be governed by a statutory body.”
The court made its remarks while hearing a public interest litigation filed by lawyer Monica Arora, who alleged that two of the 11-member council were drawing more than Rs.200,000 per month in allowances, which is not permissible under any act of the NDMC.
“As per rule, no member of NDMC is allowed to get more than Rs.3,000 per month in allowances but members are misusing funds, which is illegal,” said Arora.
The two members are allegedly getting facilities that include Rs.50,000 for rent, a car, a driver and allowances for petrol.
Refuting the allegations, senior counsel for NDMC Vikas Singh said: “Facilities taken by the administration are after an order from the Ministry of Home Affairs for the faithful discharge of their duties and responsibilities.”
The court, during an earlier hearing, had imposed Rs.5,000 fine on the NDMC for its failure to file its reply over the allegations, despite several notices to the civic body.
The court held that by no stretch of imagination did allowances mean house, staff, car, office and petrol and that allowances were supposed to be only cash.
The New Delhi Municipal Council looks after the civic affairs in an area demarcated as the national capital territory within the geographical area of Delhi state. It comes directly under the union Ministry of Home Affairs.