The Maharashtra government has decided to punish those who spit in public spaces with compulsory community service, besides imposing fines.
The state cabinet on Tuesday decided to make fines steeper and punishment more stringent for spitting in public places.
The government has set up a committee to frame rules for the revised anti-spitting legislation, and decide who the enforcement agencies would be.
“We had to bring in a punishment that would shame the offenders and hurt their ego,” Deepak Sawant, state Public Health Minister said.
“Simply paying a penalty is not enough deterrent. Offenders pay the paltry amount, and often don’t think twice before repeating the act. So, we decided to bring in compulsory community service,” Sawant said.
He added that people who spit in public places will have to pick up a broom, sweep the floor, or clean premises as community service and this would disgrace them enough to make them remember they should not spit in public places.
For the first offence, the government will impose a fine of Rs 1,000 and compulsory community service for one day. The second offence will invite a penalty of Rs 3,000 and community service for 3 days, while a three-time offender will have to pay Rs 5,000 and the community service will be for 5 days.
Sawant said, “Community service will be in the same area where the offence was committed. If that area is relatively clean, or if there is no scope for any service there then the offender will have to perform his mandatory community service in nearby hospitals or schools.”
The minister said the government decided to make the anti-spitting law more stringent due to increasing incidence of contagious diseases like tuberculosis.
The committee set up under Sawant, with Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Babanrao Lonikar, Consumer Protection Minister Girish Bapat and the medical education director as members will submit a report in one month. Sawant said the government intends to table the new anti-spitting legislation in the monsoon session of the assembly.
Implementation of the revised legislation is expected to start by year end by which time the enforcement agencies would be in place, he added.