New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the AAP government and civic bodies in New Delhi to take all preventive steps to control dengue, a mosquito-borne tropical disease, in the national capital.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also issued notice to the Delhi government and the three civic bodies (MCDs) seeking their response on a plea which has accused the authorities of not acting vigilantly and responsibly to control the disease.
"The respondents will take all preventive steps to control epidemic/dengue," the bench directed the government and the civic bodies while also asking them to file a short affidavit with regard to the steps they were taking.
The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on 7 September.
The PIL, filed by an advocate in the wake of dengue deaths and cases in the national capital, has alleged that despite 320 cases of dengue being reported this year, the authorities concerned have not been "rising up and taking measures to prevent the disease or mosquito breeding".
"Delhi this year has been facing the worst dengue crisis in five years, as all the three civic bodies, particularly South Delhi Municipal Corporation, and the Delhi government have failed to discharge their statutory duties, though it is their responsibility to take preventive measures to control this disease," the plea filed by advocate Shahid Ali said.
The plea has not only sought direction to the Delhi government and statutory bodies to control the menace but also to initiate proper inquiry as to whether they could have controlled the menace and prevented breeding of mosquitoes.
The plea also asked whether the Delhi government has released enough money to the bodies concerned to take measures to tackle the menace and why sprinkling of medicines and fogging have not been done in unauthorised areas.
The petitioner said the disease claimed its first victim on 21 July when a girl from Jafrabad in northeast Delhi died at Lok Nayak Jay Prakash (LNJP) Hospital in New Delhi.
The plea said, "Okhla MLA Amannatullah Khan's sister-in- law died of dengue on August 12 at Apollo Hospital. A total of 91 cases were reported in July, six cases were recorded in May, while June witnessed 15. Thirty-four fresh cases were reported till August 20 since the last count and the total number of cases so far in the city is more than 320."
"Despite so many deaths, civic bodies have not been rising up and taking measures to prevent disease or breeding of mosquitoes and even safai karamcharis are rarely spotted in the areas...because nearly 80 per cent of these areas are unauthorised," it alleged.
The petition alleged that the intentions of civic bodies and of responsible officials/employees are mala fide and contrary to statute and principles of natural justice and violative of the fundamental rights of citizens of India and the directive principles given in the Constitution.
Earlier, a similar plea was filed, in which the bench has already reserved its verdict.
The MCDs should be directed to urgently undertake special fumigation and sanitation drives and anti-mosquito breeding operations in their respective areas, the new PIL has said.