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"Complete Paralysis Of Administration, Policies Made Only In Populist Way": Delhi High Court On Authorities' Failure To Control Dengue Menace

Nupur Thapliyal
1 Dec 2021 1:04 PM GMT
Complete Paralysis Of Administration, Policies Made Only In Populist Way: Delhi High Court On Authorities Failure To Control Dengue Menace
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"Administrators are not administering, policies are being made only in a populist way, that's what is happening," remarked the Delhi High Court on Thursday while expressing its displeasure over the failure of authorities to control the menace of dengue in the city. A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh further remarked,"Complete paralysis of administration. Nobody is...

"Administrators are not administering, policies are being made only in a populist way, that's what is happening," remarked the Delhi High Court on Thursday while expressing its displeasure over the failure of authorities to control the menace of dengue in the city.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh further remarked,

"Complete paralysis of administration. Nobody is bothered. Nobody is accountable. If it happens it happens. It will come and go. People will die. We have such a large number of population. Doesn't matter. That's the attitude."

Justice Sanghi added,

"If only elections were fought and won on these issues, real issues, we would have a different city. It doesn't work that way. Today they are being fought on what is free."

The bench was was dealing with a petition filed by South Delhi Municipal Corporation assailing the Delhi Government's decision directing retrospective recovery of grants in aid on the SDMC and other local bodies with effect from 01.04.2016 as being arbitrary and void.

The development came after Advocate Sanjeev Sagar appearing for the SDMC apprised the Court that in terms of the earlier order, a meeting was held on 29.11.2021 wherein the chairman and other commissioners had noted that regardless of mitigating factors like extraordinary rain, it was desirable to intensify the existing measures and to identify fresh measures so as to avoid reoccurrence of dengue situation in years to come.

It is pertinent to note that the Bench had directed that meeting be convened involving the chairpersons of all the corporations, NDMC and the chief executive of Delhi Cantonment Board in order to deal with the issue.

Accordingly, Sagar submitted that in the said meeting, it was noted that although this year there was an unprecedented surge in dengue cases, the trend had shown that it was on a decline at the present.

The Court was also apprised about the fact that in the meeting, it was suggested that the stakeholders should take measures to educate public at large about menace of mosquito breeding. Other measures included an effective enforcement mechanism so that there is effective check on mosquito breeding including increase in the fine for having a deterrent effect.

"That is an excuse. Please tell us, how many mosquito breeders have been deployed? What is the situation with regards to the work they have done? What is the log? How many places did you chalaan this year? We have been telling you, what about their biometric attendance? Geotagging?" Justice Sanghi said.

On the other hand, Justice Singh was of the view thus:

"You have 1,120 breeding checkers. You have 1,400 field workers, 236 malaria inspectors. Now see obviously, if the numbers have doubled in one year, there must be some people who have not performed their duties. If you have say 2,700 people in Delhi working towards one goal, how is it that the numbers have doubled? There must be somebody who has to take the responsibility or is it a situation beyond repair? Who is the person who has been held responsible for this double number of cases?"

Sagar then apprised the Court about the issues being faced by the workers especially from RWAs of residential societies who according to him were not cooperating with them.

He also apprised the Court about a notification issued by the Delhi Government by way of which the data regarding cases of dengue and other vector borne diseases were being monitored by way of a portal and claimed that at present, the dengue menace was completely on decline.

"That is thanks to the weather condition. You have no role to play in that. Don't be under any such illusion that you are responsible for it. Don't tell us that. We are aware of the situation. It's only because the temperature has fallen that the numbers have fallen," Justice Sanghi said.
"You have the manpower. You have the machines. So what is, rainfall is something which has happened. But when you have everything, you need to just double it. If you have 8 fogging machines, you need to make it 10, 12, depending on the need. If the rainfall has increased, your corresponding manpower to address the issue needs to be increased," Justice Singh said.

Sagar also requested the Court to issue directions on enhancing the fine to increase deterrence among the public at large to which Justice Sanghi said:

"All these things you are telling us. It's for you to do. It's not for us. We can't legislate for you. We agree with you that there should be a deterrence. In our society, people don't listen unless there is deterrence. But then this is for you to do. We don't have to pass a judicial order on that."
"Problem is that today you all have become so populist in your approach that you think that if we do something people will get offended and you won't get votes. Everything is driven by that one consideration. Administrators are not administering, policies are being made only in a populist way, that's what is happening."

At the end of the hearing, the Court said that it will appoint an amicus to assist it on the issues of dengue and mosquito situation in the city which will also include other diseases like malaria and Chikungunya.

Further details on the appointment of amicus curiae are awaited.

Earlier, the Court had 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.

The Court had taken note of the fact that vide order dated October 6, 2021, it had expressed it's concern that while the municipal employees were raising grievances for payment of their dues, the city was suffering on account of lack of efficient functioning of municipal employees.

Previously, the Court had expressed its displeasure over failure of municipal corporations in the national capital in discharging their duties and functions.

"This is a dismal state of affairs for this city. What is happening to the city? Everywhere there is dengue, garbage, cattle roaming in the streets, there is damage to roads. It pains us to see this. In the last six months, this bench is only catering to the salaries, asking them to sell their properties, asking GNCTD to pay, but where is the sense of responsibility of the municipalities? We don't understand this at all," the Court had said.

"The common man is suffering. We want to make Delhi the world class city. But it's falling down by leaps and bounds. It is abysmal. It cannot go down any further. What is the state we are living in? We are issuing contempt notices, what weighed earlier to us was a Covid-19 pandemic. Now we don't have that. It's time for everyone to pull its socks and get back to work," it had added.

Case Title: SDMC v. GNCTD 

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