18 January, 2021

It's Autocrazy

Austerity be damned, it's Balenos for HC judges

Jitender Gupta
It's Autocrazy
What do Delhi High Court judges have that Supreme Court justices don't? Answer: Maruti Suzuki's top-end Baleno cars in which to zip around while the latter still trundle to court in their trusty Ambassadors.

The Delhi High Court's sleek new vehicles are a sore point with the state government, for several reasons. One being that state cabinet ministers who wanted Balenos were categorically told "no" on the grounds of (a) austerity measures; and (b) the luxury cars were not on the central or state government's list of approved vehicles. In fact, even when the Supreme Court wanted to buy Balenos for its judges, the ministry of finance refused permission.

The 27 new cars, at Rs 6.35 lakh a pop, were purchased without so much as a by-your-leave from the state government's finance department, raising the question of whether the high court's expenses were subject to the financial norms applicable to government agencies. The matter came to light when law ministry joint secretary P.K. Aggarwal wrote to the state government's finance department in September last year, asking...


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