Issuing notice to commissioners of the three MCDs, the Delhi High Court has asked them to show cause why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them for “wilful disregard” of orders, and “contravention of established law” regarding removal of garbage, which in turn resulted in the spread of vector-borne diseases.
“It is high time that such impunity, disregard of the judgments and orders of this court, and violation of statutory provisions are brought to book. It is shocking that despite our concern on May 31 (the last hearing), the commissioners have not taken a single step… We also note there is not a single instance of disciplinary action against non-performing officials…,” the bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.
The bench ordered the commissioners to be present on the next date of hearing on June 21, and said “no application for exemption shall be entertained”.
On Friday, a TV news report on non-removal of garbage in east Delhi was again screened in court, showing rotting garbage and choked drains.
Highlighting the “angst of citizens,” the bench said , “You sit in offices in south Delhi… Do you know where garbage is going?…You should be there with brooms. Do you need court orders to even do basic duty?”
This “complete apathy” was also “bringing to naught” the Centre’s flagship Swachh Bharat campaign. “The material placed before us reflects complete apathy of the respondents as well as their inability to meet the requirements and needs of the citizens… They have a direct adverse impact on the health of the citizens. There is irreparable damage to the environment and all concerns relating to global warming,” the bench said.
The bench added that “no efforts were being taken to remove or dispose garbage in all areas except central Delhi”.
Asking the addresses of the commissioners, it said, “They must be living in clean colonies. Has any commissioner spoken to you (the counsel)?… You repeat the same story again and again. We don’t want any status reports. There are orders pending from 1992 onwards.”
The counsel for the Delhi government said they would reactivate a mobile app which would “empower citizens” to inform civic bodies of areas where garbage is not removed. Asking how the app would be of any use, the court said, “It’s shocking that citizens would have to make calls for removal of garbage.”
North Delhi commissioner P K Gupta said the counsel had apprised the court of the corporation’s sanitation efforts. “We held a meeting today and I have instructed all senior officials to ensure cleanliness in all areas before the next hearing.”
South Delhi mayor P K Goel said he was yet to read the order.