High Court directs filing of affidavit on measures taken

Admitting a public interest litigation petition, the Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to file an affidavit within two weeks on the measures it has taken to prevent the outbreak of dengue in the State.

The petition, filed by advocate Basabi Roy Chowdhury earlier this week, called for a proper policy for monitoring and controlling the disease and the setting up of a committee comprising different government departments for this purpose. It also raised questions about the lack of infrastructure at certain State-run hospitals to tackle the disease that has turned into an “epidemic.”

The Division Bench of Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice Jaymalya Bagchi asked the government to specify the steps taken in the city and across the State.

The court dismissed the government’s plea that the petition could not be admitted, according to advocate Subrata Mukherjee, who was appearing for Ms. Roy Chowdhury.

“When government counsel tried to present the figures from other States, the court said that it was not concerned [with] what has happened outside the State,” Mr. Mukherjee told journalists.

The court also wanted to know whether the government had supplied sufficient amount of medicines to the State-run hospitals, he said.

Mr. Mukherjee pointed out that the government and agencies such as the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have made contradictory statements regarding the extent of the outbreak and the infrastructure in State-run hospitals to tackle the disease. Advocate Debashish Saha, who also appeared on behalf of the petitioner, said the petition proposed some remedial measures such as year-round surveillance by different agencies