thebengalurulive spotlight triggers its change of stand
Within 24 hours of issuing orders to penalize individuals in Bengaluru for not wearing a ‘mask’, BBMP has issued a corrigendum which says individuals can cover their face with ‘any cloth’.
BBMP’s changed stance on the issue comes after thebengalurulive highlighted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s request and the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines to ‘cover the face’ (not using the word ‘mask’). Read here: (https://thebengalurulive.com/pms-request-becomes-bbmps-penalty/)
In its revised order, BBMP has referred to the definition of ‘facial mask’ as ‘any mask used to cover nose and mouth, and would also include any face cover, including a piece of cloth covering nose and mouth fully to serve the purpose of protection. This could also be a homemade cloth face mask, coverings or even bandanas and scarves that cover the nose and mouth fully.’
The revised order says the competent authority to levy fines would be ‘senior health inspectors of public health wing of BBMP, junior health inspector from solid waste management cell of BBMP, and marshals from solid waste management cell.’
‘Rs 1,000 fine is ultra vires’
Meanwhile, legal experts have opined that BBMP does not have any powers under any section or any act to penalise citizens by collecting Rs 1,000 for not covering their face.
“Already people are facing hardships due to the lockdown as revenue sources have dried up. Under such circumstances, imposing a penalty of Rs 1,000 is not only illegal but harsh,” said an advocate practising in the High Court.
The Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, section 431 read with scheduled 12, empowers BBMP to impose a fine of only Rs 50 to Rs 100.
“We are staying in a democratic set-up and BBMP is acting like a dictatorship. This is not acceptable,” a legal expert said.
Rs 51,700 in fines collected
Since May 1, BBMP spotted 86 people not wearing a ‘mask’ (the word ‘mask’ was used by BBMP’s PRO in its press release) and it collected Rs 51,700 in fines.
Yelahanka zone did not report any ‘violation’ while South zone stood at the top with 25 ‘violations’. BBMP’s zonewise fines: East Zone – 20 cases – Rs 9,000, West Zone – 9 cases- Rs 8,300, South Zone – 25 cases – Rs 18,700, Mahadevapura – 10 cases – Rs 7,000, R R Nagar – 13 cases – Rs 5,300, Yelahanka – 0 cases, Dasarahalli – 8 cases – Rs 2,400 and Bommanahalli – 1 case – Rs 1,000.