On April 21, 2017, the Delhi High Court directed the state government to take all necessary steps to prevent the outbreak of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, and chikungunya. It was pointed out that in the court’s final order dated 17th August 2016, the court had raised concerns about the inadequate preventive measures that were to be taken by the civic authorities in Delhi.
“The 21st century India is seeing the citizens of its capital city of Delhi reeling with something as basic as water-borne diseases which include cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis….the consequence of the inaction loss of life as well as irreversible damage to the citizens of this city,” the Bench observed.
The following directions were issued by the bench in this matter –
1. A report on the preparedness or ability of medical facilities to cope with the diseases has to be filed by the next date.
2. Action Taken Reports by the EDMC, NDMC, SDMC, Indian Railways, Delhi Cantonment Board has to be filed within a week.
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3. All treatment options including Ayurveda, Unani, Allopathy, Homeopathy, Tibetan medicines and other medicines have to be disclosed and precautionary steps have to be publicized widely.
4. Efforts should be made by the Centre and GNCTD to put the above information in the public domain. File a report in this regard and place it before the court within 2 weeks.
More importantly, the Bench has made it clear that if the aforementioned directions are not complied with, the court will take strict action against the concerned persons. Further, such a lapse may invite action under the Contempt of Courts Act as well as the imposition of personal financial liability for compensation and damages to victims.