The Supreme Court Monday said it was "unfortunate and tragic" that the centre was not prepared to "make any payment at all" to resolve the crisis arising out of the strike by sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation over regular payment of salaries.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta noted that the court had expected the Centre to "graciously reciprocate" to the offer of the Delhi government which agreed to release Rs 500 crore to civic bodies on humanitarian grounds.
"Unfortunately and tragically, the central government has now filed an affidavit that it is not prepared to make any payment at all," the bench said.
It noted in its order that on October 3, the Delhi government had submitted in the court that for tiding over the sanitation crisis, an amount of Rs 500 crore would be released by them within two days without prejudice to their rights and contentions.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, told the court that the amount has been released.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that it was "not possible" for them to release money in this regard.
The bench, after hearing the brief submission, posted the matter for further hearing on October 24.
On October 3, the top court had asked the ASG as to whether they could also release similar amount, as offered by Delhi government, to "tide over the present crisis".
The bench had noted in its order that since sanitation workers were abstaining from work in East Delhi, there was a huge amount of garbage that has piled up in the area.
The issue of agitation by sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation over regular payment of salaries and regularisation of workers had cropped up before the court which is seized of the matter related to solid waste management in the country.