April 8, 2021 3:14:08 am
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the BMC, police and the state government to take appropriate steps to sensitise officials and the public at large towards the menace of spitting in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also questioned the police and the civic body as to why a nominal fine of Rs 200 was being collected, despite the stipulated fine being Rs 1,200 for spitting in public places.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a plea by a lawyer and activist, Armin Wandrewala, seeking directions to the authorities to strictly implement laws existing against spitting to “proactively and vigorously” stamp out the menace, to appoint wardens/marshals on a temporary basis and to “actively monitor” areas. Wandrewala claimed that one of the reasons for the rapid spread of Covid-19 was spitting in public and authorities are taking insufficient action against the same.
The petitioner added that people are spitting openly as the act attracts a nominal fine of Rs 200 despite a law permitting collection of fine up to Rs 1,200.
The BMC lawyer told the court that large-scale anti-spitting drives are regularly conducted by the civic body and fines have been collected from people found spitting in public. The court perused the data of the fine collected and observed that some wards had zero revenue from it.
“From Rs 100, you increased fine to Rs 1,200 and when the situation is grim in 2021, you are still charging Rs 200?” questioned the bench. The bench said people are required to follow guidelines by the state government during the pandemic and asked authorities to consider more proactive steps as suggested by the petitioner.
The court also directed the authorities to give wide publicity to its order, by placing signboards with warning against spitting in public, within seven days and inform the court about compliance.
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