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Bombay HC hears PIL to curb spitting in public places, asks authorities to act | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Wednesday directed BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), police and state administration to take steps to sensitize the public against spitting in public places and to forthwith try and curb the menace.
An HC bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni questioned the Mumbai police and civic authority as to why they were collecting a nominal fine of Rs 200 while the law permits a maximum fine of Rs 1200 for violators. The court passed the directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Mumbai lawyer Armin Wandrewala who claimed that one of the reasons for the unabated spread of Covid-19 was ‘spitting’ and the authorities were not doing enough to halt the nuisance.
Wandrewala arguing in person, suggested that to ensure the spitting menace is stamped out, BMC may appoint “wardens or marshalls on a temporary basis.’’ She said that “urgent need’’ for strict and efficient implementation of anti-spitting law is required, but is hardly ever discussed even in a public discourse in the Covid preventive measures.
While masks, social distancing and washing hands is frequently ingrained in public psyche, “no one talked about dangers of spitting.’’ She said people lower their masks and spit on streets.
The bench asked the Advocates for State and BMC what was being done, with regard to implementation.
The BMC counsel gave some figures, which the Judges felt were not quite right. Last January BMC fined over 7000 people and collected a fine of over Rs 14 lakh for spitting and IN February 2021 its ‘opening balance’ for numbers fine was8429 and fine collected was Rs 16.5 lakh.
Till March 30, 202, the BMC said almost 12000 people were fined and amount collected was Rs 23.6 lakh.
To the query from Judges as to why the fines for spitting were even lower than those prescribed by the legislature, BMC tried to point to some circular.
The HC asked the authorities to take note of suggestions given in the PIL and implement those which are acceptable and to file Affidavits in reply.
The matter is now posted to April 21 but the BMC has to start taking more effective action in the meantime.



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