SLAMMING THE Union government, the Delhi government and the municipal corporations of Delhi for “misleading” the court by filing “completely false” status reports on steps taken to control vector-borne diseases, the Delhi High Court Wednesday warned authorities of contempt proceedings. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar Wednesday asked the counsel for the authorities to watch a television news channel report on non-removal of garbage in east Delhi, besides problems faced by employees of civic bodies.
The report was screened in the courtroom. “This is a very serious matter. We have already watched it. This is how you are supporting your status reports?… The status reports are contrary (to the news report)… This might invite contempt. Government has to be liable because citizens cannot suffer because of passing the buck by authorities,” said the bench.
The news report showed garbage not being cleared in Shastri Nagar for a fortnight. It also showed MCD employees complaining about delay in salary, lack of proper uniform , gloves, shoes and cleaning equipment. “To whom should we issue contempt notice?” said the bench. “Invariably the defence taken by authorities is… land and policing are subject matter of central government. It is obvious that the authorities… have no cohesion and are certainly unable to sit together to resolve the problems, the bench said, adding that authorities could not play the “shifting game”.
The bench then asked the Standing Counsel for the central government, Sanjay Narula, whether he could interfere and find a possible solution. The counsel for Delhi government then said the court could constitute a committee comprising three representatives, each of the Centre, the state and the civic bodies. The bench, however, said this was not a solution.
Passing orders, the bench noted “several contradictions” between the status report and the actual situation under EDMC. “This court has been misled by the action of statutory authorities… Given that several judicial orders have not been complied with, action under contempt is certainly invited,” it said.