The Delhi High Court on Wednesday exempted the East Delhi Municipal Corporation Commissioner from personally appearing before it on June 21, after noticing "wilful violation and disobedience" of court orders to ensure garbage is collected and disposed of.
A division bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice C. Hari Shankar allowed the request of the official to attend a workshop outside India on solid waste and sewage facilities as part of his official duties.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for EDMC Commissioner, said that during his absence, the link officer -- Commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation - will represent EDMC.
The court allowed the plea saying somebody has to be present on behalf of the EDMC on that date to answer the queries of the court. EDMC Commissioner would attend the workshop in Sweden and Germany from June 17 to June 24, said the corporation's plea.
On June 2, the court had issued show cause notice to the Commissioners of East, North and South Municipal Corporations, asking why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them for defying its order.
Its order had come after the video footage of a TV news programme was played in court which showed complete apathy in collection of garbage by the municipal corporations, especially East and North. The footage had shown piles of garbage in different areas in Delhi which had not been picked up for over five days.
The court said it was forced to take on the Commissioners as they "don't care about the public but care about saving their own skins". The High Court has also been hearing PILs by advocates Arpit Bhargava and Gauri Grover claiming the government and civic agencies have not taken preventive steps against vector-borne diseases such as Chikungunya and dengue. The government and civic bodies had tol d the court that they have taken all steps to prevent these diseases.
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