Punjab and Haryana High Court admonishes Haryana for withholding contractor dues, imposes Rs 50,000 cost : The Tribune India

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Punjab and Haryana High Court admonishes Haryana for withholding contractor dues, imposes Rs 50,000 cost

Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj asserted that the State’s act and conduct was resulting in unnecessary litigation and wastage of precious court time

Punjab and Haryana High Court admonishes Haryana for withholding contractor dues, imposes Rs 50,000 cost

Photo for representation. File photo



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 14

Admonishing the Haryana government for compelling contractors to approach the court for the payment of their dues, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has imposed Rs 50,000 costs before asserting that the State’s act and conduct was resulting in unnecessary litigation and wastage of precious court time.

Expressing anguish and concern over the unreasonable withholding of legitimate and admissible dues of the contractors, Justice Vinod S Bhardwaj asserted that the court had on “various occasions” earlier also come across numerous instances, where the contractors had to knock at the high court doors for release of their admissible dues. This was despite the absence of fault on their part, escalating the financial burden and creating unnecessary litigation.

Justice Bhardwaj was hearing a petition filed by Shashi Bhushan against the State of Haryana and other respondents. Among other things, his counsel told the Bench that the respondents had withheld the petitioner’s legitimate dues, even though he had completed the allotted work well within the prescribed time.

He added that the respondents resorted to withholding of legitimate, admissible, and payable dues of the contractors for reasons best known to them. It was their modus operandi to force the contractors into filing multiple cases, adding to unnecessary litigation, wasting court time and compelling the contractor to incur expenses for litigation not required at the first instance.

After hearing the arguments and going through the documents, Justice Bhardwaj added it had apparently become a routine practice on the respondents’ part not release the due payments, unless there was a high court order. “Every week, this court receives an average of 10 to 15 cases only for seeking release of their undisputed liability. In many such cases, the respondents have already admitted their liability, but express inability to release the same for paucity of funds, which not only burdens the court with unnecessary litigation but also wastes the precious time of the Court”.

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