New Delhi: Voicing concern over the rise of dengue cases in the national capital, Delhi High Court today said it will issue immediate directions to control the outbreak of the vector-borne disease in the city.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath made the oral observation but reserved its order after hearing the plea of senior Congress leader Ajay Maken that failure and delay in controlling the disease has caused much damage to public life and health in Delhi.
"We will issue directions on how to deal with the problem of dengue. We will also consider the aspect of immediate steps to be given to the authority concerned," the bench said.
The court has already kept two similar PILs pending for October 7, including the one seeking direction to lodge an FIR against directors of hospitals which denied treatment to a seven-year-old boy who died of dengue and whose parents subsequently committed suicide.
The plea seeking lodging of FIR was filed by law student Gauri Grover contending that the boy died due to the callous attitude of hospitals.
Another plea, filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava, sought directions to the city government to take steps to combat dengue, saying the funds were released only after 23 people, including children, died.
Meanwhile, the court was informed through senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra that the Delhi government has released the second instalment of the grant-in-aid under the Dengue and Malaria Control Programme, subject to certain conditions, to all the Municipal Corporations in New Delhi.
Advocates Aman Panwar and Mudit Gupta, appearing for Mr Maken however, told the court that "it is surprising to note that it was only on September 22, a day after the intervention of this court, particularly on the issue of Dengue Control Funds, the Delhi government released 50 per cent of the Malaria and Dengue Control Programme funds to the Municipal Bodies from their budget for year 2015-16."
Mr Maken's counsel further said "it is extremely unfortunate that due to the callous attitude of the Delhi government, the said money which was to be used for preventing and controlling Dengue and Malaria (Vector Borne Diseases) has only been released after several casualties were reported and this court intervened in the said matter.
"It is submitted that the said funds ought to have been released at a much earlier stage i.e., before monsoon season, so that they may be utilised for the prevention of Dengue and Malaria."
"Irrespective of the stand taken by Delhi government on paper, the sad harsh reality is that this year there was a major dip in the fumigation drives and mosquito breeding checks in the city which caused the outspread of Dengue.
"The authorities only woke up after the unfortunate death of an eight-year-old boy and the suicide of his parents on September 11," advocate Aman contended.
Mr Maken's counsel further contended that in view of the "evident and alarming lapses" by the authorities, he would make some suggestions to control of the current dengue crises.
To this, the judge said that while passing the order it "will consider the suggestions as well".
Besides the suggestions, Mr Maken has prayed for a direction to all private and public hospitals not to refuse treatment to any patient on account of monetary conditions or any other such reason.
"In case of any misconduct by a hospital, heavy penalty must be imposed by the court," he contended.