New Delhi: Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain to hold a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung by Wednesday to plan out strategies to curb the pandemic dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.
“There is no question of playing any blame game. You have the responsibility to look after the people of Delhi. You may be great but you have to do something to maintain that stature. Nothing digging of the past should happen. You have to look at the future,” a bench of justices M B Lokur and L Nageswara Rao said. It refused to go into the allegations and counter- allegations over power tussle between the LG and Kejriwal-led government and said “no substitute” should attend the meeting with LG, except whose names have been proposed.
The court also asked Union Health secretary P K Mishra, Chief Secretary K K Sharma, commissioners of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and New Delhi Municipal Council, Chief of Delhi Cantonment Board to attend the meeting with LG. Apart from the officials and office bearers of civic bodies, the court also asked Amicus Curiae Colin Gonsalves, Chairman of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and General Manager of Northern Railway and Vice Chairman of Delhi Development Authority to attend the meeting to discuss the steps to be taken to check the menace in the city.
The bench expressed annoyance after senior advocate Chirag Uday Singh appearing for Delhi government and Health Minister Satyendar Jain alleged that officials are not reporting to the minister and not coming to the meetings. “There cannot be two Delhi governments. Officials are not reporting to us they are not coming to the meeting. We should know with whom we should sit and talk,” Mr Singh said.
To this, the infuriated bench said, “Don’t beat around the bush. Do we tell you with whom you should sit and talk. Who is the elected government? There cannot be two elected governments. The elected government has responsibility to look after the people.”
During the hearing, the Delhi government counsel further alleged that civic bodies are not under its jurisdiction and they allocate funds to them for sanitation and cleanliness of the area falling in their jurisdiction.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar appearing for Delhi Chief Secretary opposed the contention and said that it’s good to say for them that civic bodies are not under their jurisdiction but they do have jurisdiction over the local bodies as per statute.
Mr Kumar said that the affidavit of health secretary and minister are not at variance and they are not “at issue” with each other and what needs to be done to check the dengue and chikungunya menace has been outlined.
During the hearing, the court rejected the plea of waiving Rs. 25,000 as cost imposed on Mr Jain yesterday for failing to file the affidavit disclosing the names of non- cooperating officials after he claimed that he had actually complied with the directions.”The health minister is the head of department. He doesn’t need anyone’s permission to file an affidavit. When no one came forward, the minister filed the affidavit. What was wrong in it? The facts need to be looked into entirety. He has actually complied with the directions of the court,” the Delhi government counsel said.
To this, the bench said, “If that is your argument then you need to answer several other questions. Your plea for waiving of cost is rejected.” The court, then asked Mr Jain what steps he proposes to take to check the menace of dengue and chikungunya in the national capital. “You tell five steps that you want to take to prevent dengue and chikungunya from spreading in Delhi,” the bench said.
The apex court warned the Delhi Government to stop playing any blame game and address real issues.