NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today pulled up the AAP government over its failure to set out a concrete action plan to deal with the issue of defacement of public and private properties in the national capital.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar expressed serious concern over Delhi Metro and Delhi University's failure to run awareness programmes on the consequences of defacing public and private properties and termed the ineptness of the authorities as "appalling".
The court's oral observations came on advocate Prashant Manchanda's plea seeking a complete ban on alleged defacement of public properties by the candidates for the DUSU polls.
The court had earlier asked the Delhi university to frame comprehensive guidelines and the authorities to launch a large scale public awareness campaign to deal with the alleged mess of defacement which was ignored by the concerned.
During the hearing, the bench enquired from authorities, the metro and the varsity about the ground work they have carried out to clear the mess across Delhi.
None of them provided answers to the satisfaction of the court, drawing strong criticism from the bench.
The bench chided the university for a complete lack of coordination with the civic agencies.
"It is clear that no steps have been taken to clean the defacement, disseminate public awareness and the formulation of guidelines to deal with the menace of defacement.
"We see only meetings but no fruitful results. It is hopeless," an irked bench observed and pulled up the Delhi government for not setting out a comprehensive solution to deal with the issue.
It remarked: "Is it a 10 year programme? Do you want us to assign it to the high court's registrar office?" and directed the city government to take urgent steps to formulate the guidelines.
It came down heavily on the Delhi Metro for miserably failing to take even basic steps or roll out a plan on public awareness campaign and observed that the metro was not concerned about its own property.
"There are other nefarious activities happening within the premises of Metro stations, you aren't bothered at all," it added.
The court then sternly enquired from the authorities, asking "do you want us to now frame the guidelines monitor the entire thing." It directed the authorities to place on record a comprehensive action plan with time line and launch a widespread cleaning awareness campaign. It also ordered all the parties to convene a meeting on December 15 on the issue.
The bench constituted a committee comprising advocate Manchanda and advocate Aman Panwar, who was appearing for DUSU president Rocky Tuseed, as a member to frame a draft for the guidelines to deal with the issue of defacement.
It asked the authorities and other agencies involved to launch a awareness drive through social, electronic and print media.
"Animation films and jingles should be played in Delhi Metro and other places," the bench said, while directing the Delhi government to pursue the matter seriously and set out a comprehensive action plan.
The court then listed the matter for further hearing on December 22.