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"If you spit in public, pay fine of ₹1200 and clean the streets": BMC

The state government has said that around 14,655 cases have been registered between January 1, 2020, and April 19, 2021, under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Police Act, levying a fine of ₹1,200 for people spitting on public places.

"If you spit in public, pay fine of ₹1200 and clean the streets": BMC
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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told the Bombay High Court that it had placed a proposal on April 16 to amend the bye-laws from 2006 to increase the fine amount from ₹200 to ₹1,200 for spitting in public places.

This comes a week after the Bombay HC while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Armin Wandrewala, took up the civic body for its inability to curb the issue of spitting in public places. The proposal to increase the fine amount has been placed before BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.

In response to the PIL, the BMC’s affidavit said that the agency had taken steps to increase awareness about the order passed on April 7 by the High Court, which stated that the public was to be made aware of the health risks of spitting in public as well as its legal ramifications.

The affidavit also mentioned that due less stringent rule, the BMC and the state government have failed to curb the habit of people spitting in public places.

Apart from imposing fines on those who spit in public places, various measures are being taken to create awareness among the citizens about the issue, the civic body said.

According to Chahal, those who spit in public places should be punished and asked to do the cleaning of the streets for an hour or doing social work like graffiti. However, the affidavit states that it is up to the citizens to protect themselves from coronavirus infection and to ensure that others do not become infected.

The BMC said that it had placed banners, posters, and hoardings to make the public aware, adding that it has painted a side wall in Bandra with a “Do Not Spit” message. A mobile van is also being utilised to increase awareness, the civic body said.

“But finally it is the citizen who has to take proper care to avoid the disease and to maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour,” the civic body’s affidavit said.

In its initial order, the HC had asked the authorities to “implement some of the suggestions of the petitioner as would appear to them to be acceptable and can be translated into action.” 

The State Affidavit filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) went on to say that penalising violators with community service is not practical as the police are not authorised to order a citizen to do community service. However, if the court orders, we will abide by it, the police also clarified in the affidavit.

The civic body has collected ₹25 lakh from spitting cases so far, while it has accrued ₹46 crores from face mask violations. Mumbai Police has issued fines valued at ₹5.7 crores from spitting cases.

The state government has said that around 14,655 cases have been registered between January 1, 2020, and April 19, 2021, under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Police Act, levying a fine of ₹1,200 for people making a “nuisance on the public street” by spitting.

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