Reminding the AAP-led Delhi government that people have elected it as their representative, the Supreme Court Tuesday urged it to put an end to the “blame game” over chikungunya and dengue cases in the capital, and “look after” the people suffering from these diseases instead.
The court also rejected a plea by Health Minister Satyendar Jain — to set aside a fine of Rs 25,000 — imposed on him a day ago after he sought more time to disclose names of officials who, he claimed, were disobeying his orders about measures to contain the vector-borne diseases.
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A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice L Nageswara Rao underscored that “the interests of the people of Delhi are paramount” and asked all authorities to join hands and “resolve issues relating to the better management of the problems faced by the people of Delhi due to dengue and chikungunya”.
The bench has directed Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to convene a meeting on Wednesday, and ordered Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Health Minister Jain, the chief secretary of Delhi, the Union health secretary and heads of all civic bodies to attend the meeting. The chairman of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the general manager of Northern Railway have also been asked to attend.
“In our opinion, for the general interest of the people of Delhi and considering the fact that a large number of people are affected by dengue and chikungunya, it would be appropriate if a meeting is convened by the Lieutenant Governor tomorrow… We make it clear that no substitute will be sent in case anyone amongst these officers is not available for any reason,” stated the order.
While adjourning the matter for Thursday, the bench told Delhi government’s counsel Rahul Mehra that “there should absolutely be no blame game”.
It told Mehra: “We want to make it clear that there should not be blame game any further. You are the elected representatives. look after the people of Delhi. There is no point in blaming others. When you point fingers at others that they are not working, they would also point fingers at you and ask you what you have done.”
The bench added that nobody should “live in past glory” and under the impression that they have already done enough. “You may have done some great deeds in the past but you should continue doing it. Nobody should think he is too big. So we reiterate two points: first, absolutely no blame game and second, no digging up the past. Just make sure people are looked after when there are a large number of them suffering from these diseases,” it said.
Mehra assured the court that his government would put its best foot forward but complained at the same time that bureaucrats should also carry forward the tradition of acknowledging ministerial authority.
At this, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar pointed out that Delhi Health Secretary Chandrakar Bharti, who has been accused by Jain of scuttling the AAP government’s plan to deal with the diseases, would want to counter the personal allegations by filing a reply.
The bench, however, opted to put the controversy to rest by recording in its order that “the remarks (by Jain) are not taken note of at all since we are of the view that the entire matter should be looked at in a spirit of co-operation”.