SC refrains from continuing with pleas on encephalitis

The Supreme Court. (PTI file photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to refrain from hearing any further the petition relating to the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district saying steps have already been taken to combat the menace.

The apex court took on record the affidavits filed by state government and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in which the two said that they were cooperating and working together to combat the disease which has claimed more than 100 deaths.

The Bihar government had said that the state, in cooperation with the Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and other agencies, has simultaneously provided all medical facilities to treat the affected children.

Similarly, the Centre had also said it was proactively providing all support to Bihar in containing the AES.

"Having perused the affidavit of Bihar and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, we are not inclined to continue to entertain these writ petitions any further in view of the steps which are stated to have been taken to combat the menace of the encephalitis disease that has struck the different parts of Bihar.

"If the petitioners have any further grievance, they are free to move the High Court of Patna. The writ petitions are disposed of accordingly. Intervention application(s) and other pending interlocutory applications, if any, shall stand disposed of," a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta said.

During the hearing, the bench expressed displeasure that the petitioner has raised other issues like 57 per cent shortage of doctors etc.

"So you want us to exercise our jurisdiction for filling of vacancy of doctors. You go to Patna High Court.," it said, adding that petitions would be filed relating to shortage of ministers, shortage of MPs in Rajya Sabha and shortage of water etc.

"We are not inclined to entertain," the bench said.

The apex court on June 24 had taken note of the petition filed by an advocate, Manohar Pratap, who had said he was deeply "pained and saddened" by the deaths of more than 126 children, mostly in the age group of one to 10 years, in the past weeks.

It had asked the Centre and the state government to file their affidavits on the adequacy of medical facilities, nutrition and sanitation and the hygiene conditions in the state.

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