Decision on paying rent for poor in 2 weeks: Delhi Govt to HC
The Delhi government on Friday informed the Delhi high court that its July 22 verdict, asking the state to decide on implementing chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s promise that if a poor tenant was unable to pay rent during the Covid-19 pandemic, the state would pay it, is under consideration.
Delhi government’s counsel Gautam Narayan told justice Rekha Palli, who was hearing a plea alleging wilful disobedience of the court’s order directing a decision be taken in the matter in six weeks, that the decision will be taken within two weeks.
On July 22, the court had ruled that a chief minister’s promise to citizens was enforceable and directed the AAP government to decide within six weeks on Kejriwal’s announcement that the state would pay rent on behalf of a poor tenant who is unable to do so on account of Covid-19.
The petitioners, who said they were daily wage workers sought to enforce the promise made by Kejriwal during a press conference on March 29 last year, stated in their application that the failure of the authorities in taking a decision in terms of the order impinged upon their right to shelter.
“The 6 weeks expired on 02.09.2021. However, GNCTD has not yet complied with the above direction. Requests dated 29.08.2021 and 30.08.2021 made by Najma (P1), Karan Singh (P4) and Rehana Bibi (P5) have not been responded,” the petition filed through advocate Gaurav Jain said. “By wilfully disobeying the judgment/direction of this Court, respondents have also entered the territory of “Contempt of Court,” it is asserted.
In the order, justice Prathiba M Singh opined that against the backdrop of a commitment made by the chief minister, a lack of decision making or indecision was contrary to law.
“A statement given in a consciously held press conference, in the background of the lockdown announced due to the pandemic and the mass exodus of migrant labourers, cannot be simply overlooked. Proper governance requires the government to take a decision on the assurance given by the CM, and inaction on the same cannot be the answer,” the court said in its 89-page verdict.
It said the assurance was not a “political promise”, as was sought to be canvassed as it was not made as a part of an election rally but was the statement made by the Delhi chief minister.