Delhi HC calls for task force to tackle mosquito breeding: ‘No proactive action, only paperwork’

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The Delhi High Court Friday said that only “paperwork” was taking place each year with respect to mosquito breeding in Delhi and directed the local bodies to set up a special task force to address the problem. Such units will be headed by the municipal commissioners, said the court.

Observing that the people of Delhi continue to suffer, and the authorities have failed in anticipating, managing, and taking corrective measures, the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said, “Every year for the past 20 years, we have been suffering the same thing. And nothing seems to happen. Why does the Commissioner not take the moral responsibility and tender his resignation? What prevents him?”

The court made the observations during the hearing of a suo motu petition it had taken cognizance of in May of mosquito infestation in Delhi. Regarding the high number of dengue cases this year, the municipal bodies had earlier cited heavy rain as one of the reasons. However, the court said only window dressing was being done and questioned if the authorities were proactive, “then where is the proof of the pudding?”.

“You want to put the entire blame on excessive rain. That means we are then left to the gods. That is only giving excuses. You need to put the responsibility on some person. If the numbers don’t come down, then some person should be liable for a contempt action,” it said.

It further said the local bodies may need a larger force to check mosquito breeding and carry out fumigation. “You need more active people on the ground. There should be proper monitoring of those who are put to task. Probably there is no supervision. Probably because the top man is sitting in his air-conditioned office in the months of July or August when this is spreading. It’s too hot and sultry to come out. He is not bothered. He is just looking at some paper reports,” said the bench.

The court Friday was also told that the penalty for mosquito breeding is a paltry amount, and it may require an amendment in the law to increase the same. Authorities have now been asked by the court to take steps in this regard.

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