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Were tea and snacks served? SC raps govt on Jung-Kejriwal meeting

delhi Updated: Oct 06, 2016 19:27 IST
Bhadra Sinha

New Delhi, India - Sept. 21, 2016: Dengue and Chikungunya ward at Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. (Photo by Saumya Khandelwal/ Hindustan Times)(Saumya Khandelwal/HT PHOTO)

Disappointed that Delhi’s lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal could not suggest measures to prevent chikungunya outbreak in the future, the Supreme Court criticised both for “letting the people suffer.”

Exasperated that it’s October 4 direction to the authorities to hold a meeting bore no results, the bench comprising justices MB Lokur and AK Roy was left with no option but to ask Delhi’s health secretary whether tea was served at Wednesday’s meeting.

“So was there tea served. What about the snacks? Were they served too? And did you have the tea and snacks while the meeting was on or before it,” the bench asked the senior bureaucrat.

Embarrassed, the secretary kept mumbling and clarified that there were no snacks but just biscuits.

The bench was infuriated to note that the Delhi CM and his health minister gave no inputs at the meeting. Pointing to the minutes of the meeting, prepared by the L-G’s office, all other heads of civic agencies and authorities presented their views. However, there was no end result. The minutes were silent on what strategy needs to be adopted to prevent a similar outbreak in future.

“You have no contribution in the meeting. You did not say a word,” the bench told senior advocate CU Singh, the counsel representing the health minister.

On senior advocate Colin Gonsalves’s intervention, the bench agreed to give the authorities another chance and tasked them to hold another meeting on Thursday evening. Asking Gonsalves to be a participant, the bench noted:”We just hope they listen to you because they don’t listen to us.” Gonsalves was asked to take an assistant along who will prepare the minutes of the meeting.

Read: SC asks Jung, Kejriwal govt to unite against chikungunya

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar assured the bench of a positive outcome. Appearing for the health secretary, he admitted in the last meeting the participants had a “baggage.” “But it won’t be repeated,” he said.

The bench outlined the points for discussion. “Participants should discuss the steps to be taken to prevent the problem faced by the people of Delhi this year and also the future measures,” the bench ordered, asking authorities to also take effective steps to clean garbage strewn all over the city.

“We expect the participants to keep the interest of people of Delhi in mind while doing the entire exercise,” the bench said, adding “we expect that the action taken is collaborative and cooperative”.

It fixed the matter for further hearing on October 17.