At, Supreme Court of India
By, THE HONOURABLE DR. JUSTICE D.Y. CHANDRACHUD & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE HRISHIKESH ROY
For the Appellant: Mrinal Ojha, Ishaan Chhaya, Rashi Goswami, Advocates, Jasmeet Singh, AOR. For the Respondent: A.N.S. Nadkarni, ASG, Sonia Mathur, Sr. Advocate, Chinmayee Chandra, Sushil Dubey, Divya A. Nair, Anuj Aggarwal, Puneet Pathak, S.S. Rebello, Neeleshwai Pavani, Anzu Paul, Riya Soni, Swati Ghildiyal, Gurmeet Singh Makker, AOR, B.V. Balaram Das, AOR, Kiran Kumar Patra, AOR, U.A. Rana, Himanshu Mehta, M/s. Gagrat & Co., Amrendra Kumar Mehta, AOR, Sanjay Pal, Sanjay Kumar Dubey, AOR, Shuchi Singh, Krishna Kant Dubey, Advocates.
In pursuance of the order of this Court on 16 July 2019, the Union of India in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare constituted an expert High Powered Committee. The Committee submitted its report. Thereafter, when the proceedings were listed before this Court on 22 November 2019, we had indicated to Mr A N S Nadkarni, learned Additional Solicitor General that it would be appropriate if the Union of India has a fresh exercise conducted by a committee drawn from experts having specialized domain knowledge in the area pertaining to the control of vector borne diseases.
2. Mr. Nadkarni has, on seeking instructions from officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, suggested that the Expert Committee may include the following specialists who are drawn from reputed institutions:
(i) Prof. A P Dash, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Tamil Nadu, Former Regional Adviser/Scientist at WHO SEARO and Director of National Institute of Malaria Research - Delhi, Regional Medical Research Centre, Jabalpur, Desert Medicine Research Centre, Jodhpur, Centre for Research in Medical Entomology, Madurai and Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar;
(ii) Dr P Jambulingam, Chair - Vector Biology ICMR & Ex-Director Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry;
(iii) Dr A K Singh, Joint Director (Research), Indian Agricultural Research Institute;
(iv) Dr B Nagpal, Scientist (Entomologist) WHO SEARO (South East Asia Region);
(v) Dr (Prof) Asutosh Biswas, Department of Medicine, AIIMS, Delhi; and
(vi) Representative of Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIB-RC).
3. The issue of disinsecting of aircraft involves, on the one hand, concerns relating to the need to take steps for preventing the transmission of vector borne diseases. On the other hand, it involves issues pertaining to the health of passengers and crew who may be exposed to insecticides. Hence, we are of the view that the entire matter should be directed to be considered by the above Committee.
4. We accordingly direct that the Committee shall enquire into all relevant aspects bearing upon the need for disinsection of aircraft as a measure designed to control the spread of vector borne diseases. We are not restricting the ambit of the reference which has been made to the Committee since the Committee should have the opportunity to enquire into all relevant aspects of the matter. This would illustratively include:
(i) The need, if any, for disinsection of aircraft;
(ii) The recommendations made by WHO and the best practices followed internationally;
(iii) The impact of disinsection on the health and safety of passengers and crew;
(iv) If disinsection is necessary, the modalities to be followed for disinsection; and
(v) The steps which are required to be taken to ensure that adequate safeguards are observed to protect the health and safety of passengers and crew who may be exposed to disinsection, if disinfection is required.
5. The Committee is requested to submit its report within a period of two months from the date of the first meeting.
6. The Committee would be at liberty to hear all the stake holders including the representatives of the airlines which may be impacted by any decision taken thereon.
7. We also clarify, on the request of Mr Nadkarni, that the Committee would, if it considers necessary, be at liberty to seek a demonstration of the process of disinsection in which event the interim order will not come
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in the way of the demonstration being made to the Committee. 8. We would request the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to nominate a senior officer who shall act as the convenor of the Committee and arrange for all the logistical issues in regard to the travel, transportation and stay of the members of the Committee, wherever required. 9. List the appeal on 7 February 2020.