New Delhi: The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was the duty of Delhi government to ensure that the national capital remained clean and free from diseases like chikungunya and dengue.
The apex court sought response from Delhi government on a suo motu plea relating to the death of a 7-year-old boy in Delhi due to dengue after allegedly being denied treatment by five private hospitals and subsequent suicide by his parents. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was present in the courtroom for another matter, told a bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and DY Chandrachud that if the AAP-government does not take the responsibility to maintain hygiene in the city, then the Centre may step in to deal with the issue.
The bench issued notices to Delhi government and sought its response on steps being taken by to check mosquito-borne diseases dengue and chikungunya in the national capital. The court had last year taken suo motu notice of the matter after a 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 including 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.
The apex court also refused to entertain a PIL filed by Delhi-based doctor Anil Mittal alleging the apathy of Delhi civic bodies which had led certain areas to look like garbage dumps and caused the outbreak of diseases like chikungunya. The PIL, which was dismissed as withdrawn, had sought a direction that a panel of experts be set up to ascertain the steps taken to tackle diseases like chikungunya in country in general and Delhi in particular.
Over 2,600 Chikungunya cases have been reported in Delhi till 17 September and the disease has caused 15 deaths so far. Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, causing high fever and severe joint pain.