The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the commissioners of three of the four municipal corporations in the Capital for not managing sanitation. The north, south, and east commissioners had received notices on June 2 regarding sanitation levels in the city, ANI reported.

The bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the MCDs have failed “pathetically” in managing the city’s cleanliness and spread of vector-borne diseases. “Should it not be tested on the lines of culpable homicide not amounting to murder or rash and negligent driving?” they asked, referring to municipal bodies’ work towards checking mosquito breeding. Last year, there had been a massive chikungunya and dengue outbreak in the Capital.

“Instructions have not been followed, so some heads must roll. Come back with the action taken against the officials and not the poor safai karamchaaris,” the bench said. The Additional Solicitor General had submitted a five-year plan to tackle waste management and other MCD duties, but the bench said it had been proposed under the premise that civic staff were working at their full potential, PTI reported. “Is your staff doing their job or not? First address that and set it right,” the court said.

Their statements came as two PILs were being heard regarding vector-borne diseases in Delhi. The bench was also shown media reports on sanitation in the city, after which the judges noted that manual scavenging was also still being practised in Delhi. “This is the 21st century and gutters in Delhi are being cleaned by hand.” They added, “You have mentioned in your affidavit that you have cleaned all the areas in Delhi, however, the media reports show that the garbage is not collected even in four days.”

The court also questioned the civic bodies about the drainage system and whether it was adequate, given consecutive days of sudden rain in the city.

The next date of the hearing is June 27.