“Blame game is the biggest problem. Everybody keeps blaming everybody. We have had enough of blame game.”, a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and L Nageswara Rao.
The Supreme Court today directed Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to chair a meeting of the Chief Minster, heads of civic bodies, chiefs of all relevant agencies tomorrow to devise a strategy to control the spread of vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya and urged all the “stop the blame game”.
“Blame game is the biggest problem. Everybody keeps blaming everybody. We have had enough of blame game”, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and L Nageswara Rao said.
The bench expressed satisfaction on the fresh affidavit filed by the health minister Satyendar Jain which listed a series of steps government was taking like the use of 300 fogging, fumigation machines, 1000 beds to be increased in three government hospitals, plan to increase the number of mohalla clinics to 1000 by the year end etc.
But Justice Lokur was angry that the minister had not named the “officials officers reporting to the LG” who were not cooperating and taking responsibility in curbing the diseases. “Why have you not disclosed the name of officials”, the bench asked.
In the affidavit Jain has accused his secretary Chandrakar Bharti of dereliction of duty and not taking preventive measures to prevent the outbreak of chikungunya. He claimed Bharti was not available for discussion on several occasions and also disobeyed his request to participate in meetings.
Jain said the secretary believed that the Lieutenant Governor and not the minister was the competent authority. He submitted the L-G appointed Bharti as health secretary despite the minister’s request not to do so. The previous incumbent, Indian Revenue Service officer, Tarun Seem had undertaken suitable initiatives, he said.
But after perusing the affidavit, the bench asked “earlier you said no officer is willing to take responsibility to sign any document. How do we assume this secretary is inimical? You had said officials. Who are they? Why have you not named them ? No this is not what we had asked”.
As the number of dengue and chikungunya cases in Delhi skyrocketed, the Supreme Court had on September 26 sought a status report from Delhi government, all three municipal corporations and the NDMC on a PIL which blamed inadequate preventive measures steps for the widespread outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases.
The court converted a public interest litigation filed by a doctor Anil Mittal into a suo motu matter (court on its own taking interest) and sought responses from these bodies.
According to the latest figures, 2,234 cases of chikungunya were reported in the last two weeks of September — an increase of nearly 150 per cent over the preceding week.
Read the order here.