Treat as representation PIL for data on dengue: Delhi HC to authorities

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the city authorities to treat as representation a public interest litigation seeking “accurate” data with respect to the spread of dengue this year.

The Delhi government standing counsel, at the outset, told a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma that filing a petition before the court cannot replace the procedure provided for under the Right to Information Act but assured that the authorities will deal with the plea as a representation.

Counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi said the disease spread this year because of the floods, and the petitioner should not have approached the court directly without seeking the information from the government authorities first.

The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula, observed that “everyone has the right to know” and asked the authorities to consider the PIL as a representation, as suggested.

In view of the stand taken by the government, the court said no further orders were required to be passed on the PIL.

Petitioner Savera Sandesh, a local Hindi newspaper, said in its petition the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) releases data every year with respect to dengue cases but this year, for the first time, it stopped releasing the data.

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“In case of dengue fever, almost every year MCD releases the data on weekly basis which helps the general people about the cleanliness,” the petition said.

“The petitioner wished to publish through his newspaper about the current data with respect to dengue fever in order to make local people aware…when he tried to take data from other newspaper and sources, he was stunned to know that MCD has not been releasing the data about dengue fever since 5.08.2023,” it added.

The petitioner alleged there were more patients of dengue this year due to a severe strain of the virus, and as per MCD officers, “they are doing well to curb the menace of dengue fever and here is no need to release the data.” 

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