Delhi High Court.
Delhi High Court. (File Photo | PTI)

Delhi HC pulls up govt over lack of toilets, amenities in city consumer courts

The high court was hearing a public interest litigation highlighting the dismal state of the consumer courts in Delhi.

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the Delhi government over lack of basic amenities in the consumer foras, including drinking water and toilets for women. The high court said the government cannot “muzzle” courts like this because of which they were compelled to approach the Supreme Court for getting their budgets cleared for judicial projects.

“State is only interested in slashing the budgets of our courts. We find that there is a deliberate pattern. For everything we need to go to the Supreme Court for orders. There are no ladies toilets in the consumer forums. You are doing it deliberately with judicial infrastructure,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora said.

The bench said for each and every institution, including hospitals and courts, and even the drainage system, the high court has to intervene as there is little cooperation from the Delhi government.

‘The Delhi government is not cooperating. They don’t appoint officers in tribunals. The work at the ground level is zero. Is there a ladies toilet in all the district consumer forums?... Don’t think you can muzzle us like this. Don’t do this. Why are ladies’ toilets not available in the district forums and state commission? There is no intent. Not to have ladies’ toilets in district forums is very bad,’ an annoyed bench said.

The counsel for the government said the state consumer commission has to issue an order to the Public Works Department for construction of toilets. However, later he assured the court that toilets and other basic amenities will be made available in district and state consumer fora within three weeks.

The high court clarified that the Delhi government’s Department of Food Supply and Consumer Affairs will provide the infrastructure without insisting on any order from the state commission.

The high court was hearing a public interest litigation highlighting the dismal state of the consumer courts in Delhi. The high court had earlier asked the authorities to file a status report giving the particulars about each consumer forum.

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The New Indian Express