The Delhi High Court today sought the stand of the city Lieutenant Governor on a petition by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) challenging an order to withhold funds to it pending an inquiry and a special audit over allegations of misuse of government funds.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, while perusing a press note on the action ordered by Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena against the child rights body, observed that certain portions of the document took a "political colour" and asked the counsel for the LG to seek instructions.

"I would've said 'audit, go ahead'. (But page) 154 takes a political colour. That's when my problem begins...The usual foundation and motive problem (is there)," remarked the Judge.

The portion in question noted DCPCR's former chairperson Anurag Kundu and six members were politically affiliated with the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP).

The Counsel for the Lieutenant Governor said action was taken on the recommendation of other state authorities, and sought time to seek instructions.

Last year, Lieutenant Governor Saxena approved a Women and Child Development (WCD) Department's proposal to institute an inquiry and ordered a special audit over alleged misuse of government funds by DCPCR.

Saxena also directed that no further request for allocation of funds by DCPCR will be entertained before the completion of the inquiry and special audit.

Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the DCPCR, told the High Court that allocation of funds to the child rights body has come to a grinding halt.

The DCPCR has said in its petition that such a setback paralyses a statutorily protected and independent institution, putting at risk emergency response systems for children facing violence, child labour, and begging.

The plea said any attempt to withhold or reduce the funds to DCPCR is a violation of its autonomy and threat to its survival.

It also said the statutory mechanism, which provides for audit by the CAG, has been sought to be diluted and there was an attempt to weaken this mechanism through a "frontal assault".

"(The LG's action) subjects Petitioner No.1 and its members, to extraneous inquiry and special audit', which is not within the scheme of the Commission of the Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. The said Act contemplates audit by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)," the plea said.

The petition said subjecting DCPCR to any other auditor was illegal and demeaned the office of the CAG.

It added that the proposal of the WCD Department, based on which the LG approved action, was "replete with legal errors as well as malice".

"The same has been initiated only after Petitioner No.1 moved against the school run by Respondent No.4 (Kuldeep Chahal) who is a political person associated in a leadership capacity with the party in dispensation at Centre that advises Respondent No.1 (LG)," it said.

"The outcome of the investigation is predetermined and biased, regardless of the evidence or arguments presented. This violates the principle of fairness and impartiality that should guide any inquiry. A foregone conclusion undermines the credibility and legitimacy of the inquiry and its findings, and the Respondent No.1's inquiry has a foregone conclusion as it seeks also to comment upon political affiliation of the members, and it is clear which way is the inquiry going," the plea stated.

The petition asserted that Anurag Kundu has never held a position in any political party.

The LG's decision to carry out "illegal audit" is also based on extraneous considerations such as the spouses of the members of the Commission and their professions or professional past.

The matter will be heard next on January 19.

With PTI Inputs