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Mosquitoes Don't Wait For Meetings: Delhi HC to Centre, AAP Govt And MCD on Dengue
File Photo of Delhi High Court.
New Delhi: "Mosquitoes don't wait for meetings," the Delhi High Court on Tuesday said as it ticked off the Centre, AAP government and the municipal corporations in New Delhi for only holding discussions and not taking any preventive steps to check vector-borne diseases.
It said that despite today being the National Dengue Day, no awareness programmes or advertisements were run by the authorities.
The bench said the Right to Life under article 19 includes the right to know and people should be informed and awareness created on how to prevent mosquito breeding and the treatments available for dengue and chikungunya, which the court termed as a "painful disease".
"We will be extremely pained if there is loss of life," it said and added that if all the authorities had been doing their job, "we would not have been talking like this about these diseases".
The bench said that geographic mapping and the schedules for the preventive tasks ought to have been prepared much earlier and not after the directions of the court. It asked how the corporations would know where to fumigate if they were not even aware where mosquito breeding was going on.
On being informed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal were looking into the issue and high-level meetings were taking place, the bench shot back: "Mosquitoes do not wait for the meetings".
The court also asked them to file on affidavit how many prosecutions have been commenced by the corporations for violations of the bye-laws to prevent mosquito breeding.
During the hearing, the court said that under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, if the corporations' Commissioners do not perform their obligatory functions with regard to taking any measures for preventing and checking the spread of dangerous diseases, they are liable for prosecution.
As many as 4,431 cases of dengue were reported till the end of 2016, according to a report of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation which tabulates the data on behalf of all municipal corporations in the city.
Out of the 89 chikungunya cases, 19 were recorded last month, while 34 were diagnosed in March, 20 cases detected in January and 13 in February. Three cases have been registered this month itself.
The court had earlier said that unauthorised construction which had led to poor sewerage system in the national capital was responsible for these vector-borne diseases. The bench was hearing two PILs seeking directions to the authorities to take steps to stop the outbreak of these and other diseases in the national capital.
Of the two petitions before the court, one has been filed by law student Gauri Grover who had sought lodging of FIR against directors of hospitals which had denied treatment to a seven-year-old boy who died of dengue and whose parents subsequently committed suicide in September 2015. She had alleged that the boy had died due to the callous attitude of the hospitals.
The second PIL, filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava, has accused the AAP government and municipal corporations of not acting vigilantly and responsibly to control dengue and chikungunya outbreaks.
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