The Bombay High Court Wednesday sought to know from the state government why there cannot be a uniform fine for not wearing masks as per Covid-19 protocols across Maharashtra. The court also asked the state government to inform why there cannot be specific masks for hearing and speech-impaired persons who are facing several issues.
A division bench of Justice S P Deshmukh and Justice G S Kulkarni on Wednesday was hearing a PIL filed by Lokshahiwadi Balasaheb Sarode Smriti Prabodhan Upakram, through advocate Asim Sarode, which said that while the state government had made it compulsory to wear masks, there is no uniformity in the amount collected as fine and it differs from place to place.
“High amounts collected as fine have become a burden on common people who are already in duress due to lockdown,” the plea said, seeking directions from the court to the state government to impose a uniform affordable fine and to provide free masks upon collection of such fines.
The petitioner submitted that the fine amounts across various municipal corporation limits in the state range between Rs 100 and Rs 1,000.
The PIL also urged the court to give directions to devise plans and actions for speech and hearing-impaired people, like providing stickers to be placed in masks for their identification by the state government.
After hearing submissions, Justice Kulkarni asked government pleader Priyabhushan P Kakade, “The pandemic is here to stay. We have completely forgotten that there should be special masks for these (hearing and speech impaired) persons. How would you otherwise recognise them.Also, why can we not have a uniform collection of fines? Why does every corporation have its own policy and why are the police also collecting fine?”
The court will hear the PIL next week.
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