SC asks Kejriwal, Jung to hold meeting on dengue, chikungunya

Health Minister Satyender Jain alleged that officials are not reporting to the minister and not coming to the meetings.

Published: 04th October 2016 07:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2016 07:56 PM   |  A+A-

Arvind Kejriwal2PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (File|PTI)


NEW DELHI: Warning Delhi government against playing any blame game, the Supreme Court today directed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendra Jain to hold a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung by tomorrow to chalk out a strategy for curbing vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.

"There is no question of playing any blame game. You have the responsibility to look after the people of Delhi. You may be great but you have to do something to maintain that stature. Nothing digging of the past should happen. You have to look at the future," a bench of justices M B Lokur and L Nageswara Rao said.

It refused to go into the allegations and counter- allegations over power tussle between the LG and Kejriwal-led government and said "no substitute" should attend the meeting with LG, except whose names have been proposed.

The court also asked Union Health secretary P K Mishra, Chief Secretary K K Sharma, commissioners of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and New Delhi Municipal Council, CEO of Delhi Cantonment Board to attend the meeting with LG.

Apart from the officials and office bearers of civic bodies, the court also asked Amicus Curiae Colin Gonsalves, Chairman of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and General Manager of Northern Railway and Vice Chairman of Delhi Development Authority to attend the meeting to discuss the steps to be taken to check the menace in the city.

The bench expressed annoyance after senior advocate Chirag Uday Singh appearing for Delhi government and Health Minister Satyender Jain alleged that officials are not reporting to the minister and not coming to the meetings.

"There cannot be two Delhi governments. Officials are not reporting to us they are not coming to the meeting. We should know with whom we should sit and talk," Singh said.

To this, the infuriated bench said, "Don't beat around the bush. Do we tell you with whom you should sit and talk. Who is the elected government? There cannot be two elected governments. The elected government has responsibility to look after the people." The apex court further said that whatever has happened are things of the past and the Delhi government has to look at the future and take steps for the betterment of the city.

"You have to tell us how you can work in harmony. It can't be like you are in a closed set of mind. Both of you sit together and work for the betterment of Delhi. What has happened has already happened. Look at the future," the court said after the Delhi government counsel told it that they are helpless in the prevailing situation.

During the hearing, the Delhi government counsel further alleged that civic bodies are not under its jurisdiction and they allocate funds to them for sanitation and cleanliness of the area falling in their jurisdiction.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar appearing for Delhi Chief Secretary opposed the contention and said that it's good to say for them that civic bodies are not under their jurisdiction but they do have jurisdiction over the local bodies as per statute.

Kumar said that the affidavit of health secretary and minister are not at variance and they are not "at issue" with each other and what needs to be done to check the dengue and chikungunya menace has been outlined.

During the hearing, the court rejected the plea of waiving Rs 25,000 as cost imposed on Jain yesterday for failing to file the affidavit disclosing the names of non-cooperating officials after he claimed that he had actually complied with the directions.

"The health minister is the head of department. He doesn't need anyone's permission to file an affidavit. When no one came forward, the minister filed the affidavit. What was wrong in it? The facts needs to be looked into entirety. He has actually complied with the directions of the court," the Delhi government counsel said.

To this, the bench said, "If that is your argument then you need to answer several other questions. Your plea for waiving of cost is rejected."

The court, then asked Jain what steps he proposes to take to check the menace of dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.

"You tell five steps that you want to take to prevent dengue and chikungunya from spreading in Delhi," the bench said. 

Delhi government counsel then listed five steps saying they have given contract for 300 fogging machines, 1,000 beds in three hospitals have been reserved under fever management programme, number of mohalla clinics to be increased to 1,000 as against 107 at present, awareness programme, funds to be released to civic bodies for sanitation and cleanliness.

Amicus curiae Gonsalves suggested that work has come to a standstill and both the parties needs to sit together to chalk out strategy for making things better in city.

He said that accountability needs to be fixed on the person responsible for bringing the situation to such a level when people are dying due to vector-borne diseases.

Gonsalves sought court's intervention and direction for cleaning of garbage as figures are "very alarming" and policy of fogging should be reviewed as several harmful chemicals are used in it and even European Union has banned the process.

The apex court had yesterday imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Jain for failing to file an affidavit disclosing names of officials whom he had alleged of not cooperating in checking the menace of dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.

It had last year taken suo motu taken cognisance of the death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue last year after being allegedly denied treatment by five private hospitals and subsequent suicide by his parents, and sought response from Delhi government.

The matter was taken suo motu cognisance after the couple -- Laxmichandra and Babita Rout, both natives of Odisha, committed suicide by jumping from a four-storeyed building in South Delhi's Lado Sarai after their only son Avinash died of suspected dengue.

Five hospitals -- Max hospital in Saket, Moolchand Khairatiram Hospital in Lajpat Nagar, Aakash Hospital in Malviya Nagar, Saket City Hospital and Irene Hospital, Kalkaji, were issued show cause notices to explain why their registration should not be cancelled for allegedly refusing to admit the boy. 


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