"God help this country", the Supreme Court observed on Monday, as it chided the government on the issue of providing accommodation in the national capital to members of tribunals.
The court also put a poser as to whether the retired judges -- who are members of such tribunals -- are expected to "roam" on the streets of Delhi.
A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale issued a notice to the secretary, ministry of urban development, to furnish information on the number of vacant type 7 and 8 bungalows in the capital.
"You slip into a deep slumber and you want the court to wake you up? Why do you compel us to do something which we refrain from doing? God help you and God help this country," the bench observed, expressing its displeasure at the failure of authorities to provide government accommodation to the chairman and members of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, which was constituted a year ago.
The tribunal was set up in November, 2010 to adjudicate the water dispute between Karnataka and Goa.
The bench was not impressed with the argument of the Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal, who cited in the April, 2012 office memorandum issued by the government that the tribunal members were not entitled to government accommodation under the general pool.
"As per rules, they are entitled to get accommodation. You can't deny them when vacancies are available. Do you expect the retired judges to roam on the streets of Delhi," asked the apex court.
"If you don't want tribunals to function, scrap the statutes (laws) which provide for the appointment of judges for tribunals," the bench observed while posting the matter to October 30 for further hearing.