Contempt notices to officials if directions not followed: HC


Measures being taken to control dengue discussed

Top bureaucrats bombarding their employees with questions is not unusual. On Thursday, it was a different situation in Telangana High Court with the Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi and some other top officials struggling to answer queries raised by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan.

Summoned by a division bench headed by the CJ, Mr. Joshi and IAS officers Arvind Kumar and Lokesh Kumar along with some top officials appeared before the First Court to explain about measures being taken to control dengue. The CJ was unconvinced by the replies given by Mr. Lokesh to some questions like if 50 power sprayers (available with GHMC) were sufficient to tackle mosquitoes in a city having close to 20 lakh houses.

The CJ felt that nearly 5,000 such sprayers would be required to handle dengue and other fevers but the authorities should have anticipated the situation, realising 50 sprayers were insufficient. ‘This would amount to criminal negligence,’ the bench remarked.

Noting that IAS officers were among the cream of administrators, the bench said the government was spending huge sums on their training. Stating that the lackadaisical attitude of the officers deteriorated the public health situation in the State, the CJ cautioned them that the HC cannot turn a Nelson’s eye to their inadequate response.

“Don’t blame the judiciary, we would be compelled to pass strictures if this continues,” the bench noted. It told the bench that if a person dies of dengue the bench would award ₹5 lakh compensation to the victim’s family.

“The officers concerned would have to bear that money personally and the family would be given freedom to sue the State for additional relief,” the bench said.

The HC would not hesitate to issue contempt notices suo moto to the officials if its directions were not enforced on public interest matters, the bench said. ‘All our requests fell on the deaf ears of the official machinery,’ the bench said.

Wondering if the authorities were bothering to read newspaper reports highlighting sanitation and dengue related issues, the bench asked if they were simply paying attention only to entertainment pages.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 1:25:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/contempt-notices-to-officials-if-directions-not-followed-hc/article29790336.ece

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