Observing that dengue is “one of the major public health challenges in Delhi, particularly during the monsoon”, the Delhi High Court Saturday said the various plans proposed by the Centre, city government and civic agencies to combat the disease “have not reached the public at large”. Days after asking the Delhi government to give details of the “legislative measures” proposed for combating dengue and other vector-borne diseases, the court Saturday passed orders to the civic bodies and the state health department to take action to tackle the problem.
The directions from the bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were passed on two PILs filed last year after several incidents of dengue were reported. The PIL was filed by law student Gauri Grover after a couple committed suicide following the death of their seven-year-old son due to dengue. The child had allegedly been denied treatment at a private hospital.
The second plea by advocate Arpit Bhargava had sought action against the officials of the government and various civic bodies for failing to take preventive measures against the “epidemic”. Taking note of the various affidavits filed by the Central government, Delhi government, and civic agencies, the bench observed that “it appears” “several measures stated to have been undertaken have not reached the public at large and dengue has played havoc in the lives of the inhabitants of Delhi”.
The court has now directed government agencies to ensure that all measures stated in their respective affidavits be “implemented effectively”. The measures include 24-hour open ‘fever clinics’, additional manpower and funds, and awareness programmes. In addition, the bench has directed the Centre and the Delhi govt to ensure that no hospital in the city denies treatment to any dengue patient.
Further, the union and state government have been directed to take steps to increase the number of doctors, nurses and other staff at government hospitals, “by engaging retired staff if so required to meet the exigencies”. The court has also suggested that NGOs working in the field be taken on board to augment hospital staff. The court also directed civic agencies to undertake periodic fogging and spraying of insecticides, particularly in slum areas, and undertake awareness campaigns. The court, however, declined to pass any orders on action to be taken against officials.