Stating that non-removal of garbage is a penal offence that could attract Section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), the Delhi High Court pulled up civic bodies in the capital for their inaction. It was hearing a plea on prevention of vector-borne diseases in the capital Wednesday.
“Should FIRs be registered?” asked a bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar. Underscoring that authorities lived in clean residential areas, the bench said, “Let’s create some nice (government) bungalows in Seelampur. Look at (the non-removal of garbage in) Kotla Mubarakpur… Put some government colonies in these areas…,” the bench said.
It added, “…You seem to be proceeding from the view that everything is in order… that the problem lies outside… You cannot keep your house in disarray, and then think outside. First, set your house in order, then deal with collateral issues.”
Taking up the issue of municipal workers cleaning drains with their bare hands, the bench said provisions of the Manual Scavenging Act stood contravened. It also noted that authorities are yet to implement “grass root segregation techniques” as part of waste management.
During the hearing, a news report was screened in court which stated that garbage has not been removed from areas such as New Seemapuri, Anand Parbat, Kotla Mubarakpur, Seelampur, Mayur Vihar and Chanakya Place.
Submitting an affidavit on part of the government agencies, ASG Sanjay Jain said the report was not “illustrative generally” of the entire city but specific to that particular place. “Such a situation was likely to occur in few places,” he said, adding that the “question is how to deal collectively with the problem”.
Highlighting issues such as unauthorised colonies, the ASG said municipal authorities had their limitations as they were provided jurisdiction of areas on the basis of a certain population, and had a fixed employee base.
As there are multiple authorities to deal with the issue of garbage removal, they could make a “joint effort”, and formulate a solution in an “integrated manner”, he said. There could be “out-of-the-box thinking” to identify the issues, the ASG added.
Responding to the affidavit, the bench said, “Instead of a 200-page fancy report, submit a two-page report, stating what you need.”
On the civic bodies’ argument that they did not have sufficient finances, it said, “Let MCD file writ petitions against Delhi Government/Centre saying we don’t have money”.
Listing the matter for June 27, the bench directed the ASG to submit an action taken report as well as an action plan.