Plea seeks review of order refusing to scrap subsidies on utility bills

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a review petition against court's earlier order rejecting a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to scrap the subsidies on electricity, and water bills, etc provided to the residents of Delhi.

A bench of Cheif Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, while dismissing review petition, observed that they found no error in its earlier order.

The same bench had, on July 28, dismissed the PIL and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on petitioner observing that the government policies can't be decided in court.

"Government policies can't be decided in court. We see no reason to entertain this plea and we are not inclined to alter the government's decision to provide several services to the public in concessional rates," the bench had said in its earlier order.

The PIL, filed by Shailender Singh, had sought directions to the Delhi government to not make such freebie policies for people as these policies are in violation of the provision of the welfare state in the Constitution and infringement of fundamental right to live and equality.

The plea said that government policy in this regard is discrimination between people of India and infringement of fundamental right of equality as this scheme of the subsidy do not qualify under special power to the state to enact a scheme for fulfilling the condition of disability, liability, restriction or condition of people.

This is clear that this policy is politically motivated, in which free and subsidy units of electricity further increased during the Delhi election of 2019, the plea said.

It said that there are so much of work need to be completed to address problems in Delhi including pollution, traffic issue, health and sanitation, education. However, respondents have no interest in making fund available to projects which indirectly benefit people in the long term like clean air, educational institutes, and facilities, etc, it added.

"In view of the facts and circumstances enumerated hereinabove, it is expedient in the interest of justice that this court may very kindly be pleased to issue mandamus- commanding respondent to remove all freebie policy and scheme which are given to the general public, and focus on improvement along with building infrastructure and services to have a welfare state," it said.

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