The Bombay High Court pulled up municipal authorities for not imposing heftier fines against people spitting in public places despite the grim situation owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice GS Kulkarni of the Bombay High Court was hearing a plea filed by a Mumbai resident who sought directions to the State, BMC and Commissioner of Police to proactively execute laws against spitting in public and to stamp out the menace. The Bench asked the authorities that [when] “Bombay Police Act permits you to take fine of Rs. 1200. Then why are you charging only 200? What is the value of Rs. 200 now a days?”
The Court further suggested that mass campaigns have to be undertaken by the authorities to sensitise people. When BMC apprised the Court about the drives undertaken by them to fine people who spit in public places, the Court noted that fine collection in some of the wards was nil. “Actually it is loss of revenue. It shows that you are not collecting. The habit of spitting has to come to an end.” Justice Kulkarni weighed in.
The Court directed the authorities to give wide publicity to the order by placing them on signboards or any other medium and telling the people about the consequences of spitting in public. These steps have to be carried out within 7 days and the authorities have to inform the Court by April 21, 2021, about the measures existing and the measures to be taken in future to curb the grievances raised in the petition.
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