Govt can’t deny payment to contractors, suppliers: HC

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3

Making it clear that financial crunch was no ground for not paying suppliers and contractors executing the works for the state, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued four commandments, including the preparation of a payment priority list.

Justice Anil Kshetarpal said the state or its instrumentalities would maintain a priority list of the admitted amount to be released to the contractors or suppliers. Such priority list would be prepared department-wise and it would not be deviated from. The payments would be released only in accordance with the instructions issued in this regard.

The Chief Secretary would ensure circulation of the order to all departments, local bodies or instrumentalities of the state for following the directions in letter and spirit.

As and when a representation or notice was received from a contractor or supplier for release of the undisputed amount, the authority concerned would be bound to inform him of the priority number within 10 days.

Justice Kshetarpal asserted a large number of writ petitions were filed in the High Court claiming non-release of payments to the contractors for quite a while. At one stage, the state government admitted financial crunch in the state.

“It appears the situation still continues. No doubt, the state or its instrumentalities have no discretion to not pay the contractors or suppliers after their work or supplies have been completed,” he said, stressing normally the courts were reluctant to interfere in the state’s financial matters. However, the court was left with no choice, but to step in.

Govt can’t deny payment to contractors, suppliers: HC