Almost eight months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarted the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, the Centre is giving final touches to a model law, which – if adopted by state governments – will empower municipalities and other civic and urban development agencies to punish those found spitting, urinating and throwing garbage in public places.
Sources said the Legislative Department of the Law Ministry is giving final touches to the ‘model’ law, which will then be circulated among the states. The state governments will be requested to adopt the same as per their local requirements.
The Central government is of the view that self-regulation has not worked so far and a law to enforce the cleanliness drive will help the purpose.
The Prime Minister had launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about cleanliness and better sanitation on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2 last year, emphasising on the link between sanitation and public health.
Sources said the decision to draft a model bill and circulate the same among the state governments was taken after the Legal Affairs Department opined that a Central law on the subject will be difficult to implement and will also be against the spirit of the Constitution.
“The Constitution has put sanitation and related issues in the state list. Therefore, there cannot be a Central law. But cleanliness goes beyond a state’s boundary. Thus, government plans a model law which can be adopted by states and modified as per their requirements,” said a senior official.
Issues like punishment, fine and enforcement of the law are being worked out on the lines of traffic challans so that the violators can be booked on the spot.
To avoid overlapping, the new law can be linked to existing rules in related sectors to provide for penal action to check the practice of throwing garbage out in the open or spitting/urinating in the open.
The official pointed out that since a swine flu outbreak in any particular area affects the entire country, therefore, cleanliness cannot be termed as a local issue.
At a review meeting recently, the PMO had expressed desire that laws governing cleanliness be examined so that a comprehensive law can be brought.