New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed the Center, Delhi government, and other departments to clear the professional fees of empanelled lawyers within four weeks. These payments are against bills raised before February 1, 2020. The court was reacting to a plea seeking direction for the clearance of professional fees of the advocates.
A divisional bench of the court, comprising the Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, while hearing the matter through video conferencing, has asked the respondents:
“Don’t wait for the last week, start it slowly from now onwards.”
The petition has been filed by advocate Piyush Gupta, Co-Chairman, Bar Council of Delhi, seeking direction to immediately clear the pending professional fees of panel advocates of the centre, state government, and other departments.
The bench asked the counsel for the government: “Why are you not paying the bills of the lawyers? We will call upon your officer. Clear the bill raised before six months within 15 days. Otherwise, I’ll stop the salary of the finance secretary. This will bring you people to the headline. How much bill is pending?”
Santosh Tripathi, appearing for the Delhi government, stated: “I’m not in a position to tell this.”
The Chief Justice stated:
“I’m staying the salary of the finance secretary. I have already done this in Jharkhand.”
Tripathi added that the government decided in its meeting yesterday to introduce a Single Online Window Module for the raising of the bill online.
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The court has directed that the bills received on or before February 1, the payment of those bills shall be made within four weeks from today and listed the matter for September 29.
– India Legal Bureau