Jail term to Delhi Jal Board officials stayed

December 16th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday stayed the jail term awarded to three Delhi Jal Board officials, including its former CEO, for not repairing a drain despite a court direction.Staying last month’s order of a single-judge bench, a division bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Manmohan Singh issued notice to the secretary of S-Block, Greater Kailash Resident Welfare Association, and posted the next hearing to Feb 18.

The court also ruled that since the then CEO Arun Mathur no longer holds the post, he could not abide by the order and gave him relief.

Justice S.N. Dhingra awarded the jail term to former DJB CEO Mathur, chief engineer (drainage) R.K. Jain and executive engineer P. Pant; and imposed a fine of Rs.20,000 each to be deducted from their salaries for not repairing a damaged drain in the national capital despite the court’s order two years ago.

The imprisonment, however, shall remain suspended for three months.

The court said the officials will have to undergo the imprisonment if they fail to control the flow of sewage from a drain at the district centre, Nehru Place, into the drain of S-Block, Greater Kailash-I within three months.

The hearing was posted for March 5 next year.

In a contempt petition, the S-Block residents complained that the high court in March 2006 had directed the department to repair the line within three months. Despite the DJB’s assurances to the court, the officials had failed to repair the drain in compliance with the court’s direction, the petition said.

Justice Dhingra in his order said, “It is only in this country that citizens have to knock at the doors of court in order to get reliefs of the kind sought here. It only shows with what contempt normal citizens of this country are dealt with by authorities and essential facilities like sewage lines are not maintained by DJB despite repeated complaints of the citizen.”

He also lashed out at DJB for “deep-rooted corruption in the department”.

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