Judiciary came to rescue of the central government in Uttrakhand when High Court of Uttarakhand ordered police to register FIR against the people who were misusing toilet funds under Swachh Bharat Mission.
Facts of the Case
Division Bench of Uttrakhand High Court was listening to a public interest litigation filed by advocate B.S Adhikari in which highlighted the fact that state government officials and some other people were misappropriating the money allotted to them by the central government under Swachh Bharat mission for building toilets. Under the Swachh Bharat, Mission incentive was provided for construction of individual household toilets. This scheme was meant for Below Poverty Line Household and persons living below poverty line where an amount of 12,000 rupees was to be given for the construction of one unit. This amount was to be shared in the ratio of 75% is 25% between the Central Government and the State Government. Project Manager after verifying the B.P.L holders and their construction work were to sanction the money. Many Villagers complained to the District Magistrate that the amount released under the scheme was misused by the authorities and only a few toilets were built. In certain cases, money was released in favor of dead persons. Tehsildar, Vikas Nagar inquired the matter and submitted a detailed report underlining the embezzlement or misappropriation of the funds meant specifically for construction of toilets. Respondents, in this case, did not file a counter affidavit. Despite repeated complaints, the state government did not take any action on the report submitted by Tehsildar.
The Decision of the Case
Division Bench of High Court while disposing of the writ petition slammed the state government for inaction and said that
“The Swatch Bharat Mission 2014 is the most laudable project undertaken by the Central Government and the State Government for maintaining a high level of hygiene and cleanliness in the urban/rural areas. The very purpose of the scheme has been frustrated by the functionaries of the State Government. It was incumbent upon the authority concerned to ensure construction of toilets on the basis of money sanctioned by the Central Government.”
Furthermore, Court ordered Chief Secretary of the State of Uttrakhand to take immediate action on the report and directed The Senior Superintendent of Police, Dehradun to register an FIR against the persons, who misappropriated public funds named in the above-mentioned report. Moreover, Court also instructed respective Head of the Departments to initiate disciplinary proceedings against persons indicated in the report.
Learning of the Case
From this case, we learn that bureaucrats cannot use the public funds according to their whims and fancies. They have to use funds allotted to them in a responsible manner.