Warning the municipal bodies and their employees that the court will not exercise its discretionary jurisdiction in their favour if the civic conditions in the national capital do not improve, the Delhi High Court Tuesday ordered the local bodies to hold a meeting regarding the rising number of dengue cases.
The division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh ordered the chairpersons of the South, North and East Delhi municipal corporations, the North Delhi Municipal Council as well as the chief executive officer of the Delhi Cantonment Board to conduct a meeting and apprise the court about the steps being taken to control mosquito breeding. The court will hear the matter on December 1.
The court also said that it had earlier raised the issue of geotagging and marking of biometric attendance of employees. “We direct the petitioner to place on record what steps have been taken in this regard. This information should be provided in the affidavit to be filed,” it said in a direction issued to the SDMC while hearing the latter’s petition regarding funds being received from the government by municipal bodies.
Expressing concern over the dengue situation in Delhi, the court said that it has been dealing with non-payment of salaries of municipal employees for months and, in October, had noted that while the employees were clamouring for payment of their dues, the city was suffering due to their inefficient functioning. However, it said that its concern fell on deaf ears as the situation has only worsened.
“This year we are only witnessing a big surge in the number of cases of dengue. There have been several fatalities on account of the said disease,” said the court, while blaming the municipalities.
The court said that the employees were only demanding salaries but nothing was happening on the ground.
“How can it be that every year dengue is increasing? Is it not a municipal function? Is it some rocket science that after the monsoon there will be mosquitos. After the monsoon, there will be dengue. It has been a pattern for the last 15 to 20 years. Is there some rocket science involved? Is there no planning? Is there no thought process?” it asked.
It further noted that the municipal bodies may be overstaffed. “Is it that the municipality has given up everything and it’s only to collect taxes and disburse salaries? We will not entertain this petition. How do they expect salaries if they don’t do work?” the court told the SDMC.
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