Delhi HC imposes Rs 50,000 costs on government for not filing reply to petition

Despite repeated orders dated August 2, 2023, and September 21, 2023, granting four weeks’ time to file a reply, the state government has not filed its reply.
Representational image of Delhi High Court
Representational image of Delhi High Court(File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court on Wednesday imposed costs of Rs 50,000 on the city government for not filing a reply, despite repeated directions, to a petition seeking adequate IFS officers and deployment of CAPF to protect forests in the national capital.

Justice Subramonium Prasad said there was no valid reason given by the authorities for not filing a reply in the matter. Not complying with court directions is against the majesty of the court, the bench said.

“Despite repeated orders dated August 2, 2023, and September 21, 2023, granting four weeks’ time to file a reply, the state government has not filed its reply. No reason has been given as to why the reply has not been filed. The only reason being given is that some information is being called from other states. This is no ground for not filing a reply in the matter,” the court said.

Justice Prasad further said, “A costs of Rs 50,000 is imposed on the state, subject to payment of which reply may be filed. Not complying with repeated directions of the court is against the majesty of the court. The majesty of the court cannot be brought down.”

The court was hearing a petition seeking a direction to the central government to post an adequate number of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers with the Delhi government’s Forests and Wildlife department.

It sought direction to the authorities to ensure that necessary steps are taken for the protection of forest rangers, guards and other field staff of the Forests and Wildlife department in terms of better protective equipment, arms and staff strength, apart from other ancillary prayers, as the staff are under tremendous pressure and are threatened and assaulted while discharging their statutory duties.

The Forests and Wildlife department’s action directly affects the right to a clean and healthy environment of the petitioner that is guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution, it said. The petition also sought a direction to the Delhi government to establish its own forest training school and create forest stations in all the forest divisions of the city, on a par with forest stations in Kerala, for effective protection and management of forest and wildlife.

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