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Delhi High Court Calls For Uniform Protocol Across City For Dealing With Menace Of Mosquito Infestation

Nupur Thapliyal
14 Jan 2022 12:15 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Calls For Uniform Protocol Across City For Dealing With Menace Of Mosquito Infestation
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The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the municipal corporations and local bodies to examine and identify the adequate steps for incorporating a 'common protocol' to be followed by all the authorities for dealing with the menace of mosquito infestation and spreading of vector borne diseases in the city. Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was of the view that the reasons for...

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The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the municipal corporations and local bodies to examine and identify the adequate steps for incorporating a 'common protocol' to be followed by all the authorities for dealing with the menace of mosquito infestation and spreading of vector borne diseases in the city.

Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was of the view that the reasons for mosquito infestation and spread of vector borne diseases are not merely seasonal although they may get heightened during the monsoon period.

The Court said that there were other factors which contribute to the said menace such as collection of garbage, exposure of used tyres, utensils, tanks which collect water particularly during rains and provide an opportunity for mosquito breeding.

The bench had taken suo moto cognizance of the issue of menace of large scale breeding of mosquitoes in the city resulting in vector borne diseases such as Malaria, Chikungunya and Dengue every year.

It had then directed all the city local bodies, including the three municipal corporations and Delhi Cantonment Board, to constitute their task forces in order to monitor and control the menace of mosquito infestation in the city.

Today, the Court was informed that two task forces have been formed by the corporations, one at the headquarter level and another at the zonal level, pursuant to the last order.

The Court was of the view that the purpose of the last order was to work out a uniform protocol to be followed by all the corporations and other municipal bodies so that the roles of all individuals who have in the matter of prevention of mosquito breeding and spread of vector borne diseases are clearly defined and individual responsibilities of all the officers are fixed.

"It appears that upon this aspect there is no clarity yet," the Court said.

Divya Prakash Pande appearing for the corporations submitted before the Court that another joint meeting of all the corporations and other municipal bodies is set to be convened on January 21. He said that in the said meeting, the roles of all officers and employees will be defined and aspect of fixation of responsibility will be considered.

He also submitted that the efforts made by the municipal bodies for control of mosquito infestation and spread of vector-borne diseases are however undertaken on a seasonal basis.

"It is for the municipal authorities to undertake a campaign to deal with such situations on a daily basis and the menace cannot be addressed only by addressing the problem in particular months of the year. Similarly maintenance of roads and open areas and drains which are also a reason for mosquito breeding and infestation have to be prepared, cleaned and covered throughout the year and such tasks cannot be left to be attended to only during particular months," the Court said.

"In the forthcoming meeting of the municipalities and local bodies, these aspects should also be examined and adequate steps incorporated in the common protocol to be worked out," it directed.

The Court added that it expects that all the senior and responsible officers of the municipalities and local bodies will remain present in the upcoming meeting. It also said that the Member Drainage and Member Water of the Delhi Jal Board shall also remain present.

"We direct an officer in the rank of additional commissioner in Delhi Police, Chief Engineers in PWD and CPWD to also participate in the meeting to be held," the Court said further.

On the aspect of amendment of the law in relation to increase in the amount of fines to be collected by the authorities, the Court was informed by Advocate Satyakam, appearing for the Delhi Police that the proposal is already been sent to law department of Delhi Government for due consideration.

"Looking at the nature of the problem we are dealing with, we hope and expect that the concerned department would take expeditious steps so that the law could be made more effective," the Court said while listing the matter for further hearing on February 4.

During the course of hearing today, Advocate Satyakam informed the Court that a similar matter involving identical issues and involving all the municipal corporations and relevant authorities is pending consideration before the Court. He therefore requested the bench to consider perusing the status reports filed in that case.

To this, Justice Singh responded thus:

"It's sad and Sorry state of affairs that the Court is dealing with this issue since 2005. In 2022 also we are dealing the same issue."

Justice Sanghi, on the other hand, said "Mr. Satyakam, whenever there is an election, we hear of promises of 24 hour water supply in your home, drinking water from tap. What happened to all that? You forget your promises. You are never serious about when you….these are all lollipops that you give it to the people. You are never serious about them."

Earlier, the Court had appointed Advocate Rajat Aneja as amicus curiae for assisting it in the matter.

It had also expressed displeasure on the failure of municipal corporations to control the surge of vector borne diseases like Dengue, malaria and Chikungunya in the national capital, observing that it's earlier directions to control the same had fallen on deaf ears.

Case Title: Court in its own motion v. State

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