Civic body to fine the ‘maskless’ Rs 1,000
Law permits only Rs 50 to Rs 100 fine: expert
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to all citizens to wear masks or cover their face with a wrap as a virus-preventive measure. But an overzealous BBMP has gone one step further and has decided to penalize ‘errant’ individuals Rs 1,000!
It is to be noted that apart from the PM’s request to use reusable items like mufflers and kerchiefs, the Ministry of Home Affairs in its April 15 order too had referred to a ‘face cover’. But the BBMP order specifically refers to the word ‘mask’.
As per the BBMP’s order, which came into force from April 30, if any individual in a place where more than 5 people have gathered is not found wearing a mask, he/she will be penalised Rs 1000 and subsequently Rs 2,000.
“Whereas 138 positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified till date in the jurisdiction of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and it is necessary for BBMP to take appropriate action and enforce precautionary guidelines in public interest… maintaining social distancing, wearing facial mask and adopting proper segregated waste disposal and sanitation could help contain the spread of Coronavirus,” the order reads.
The order goes on to say: “Wearing of facial mask to cover mouth and nose is compulsory in public places and in any working space with more than 5 people. Facial masks and gloves used by any of the Households (HHs) and Commercial Establishments (CEs) should be properly handed over to Waste Collectors in covers or closed bags as part of sanitary (reject) waste…Spitting, urinating, littering and any kind of related public nuisance is banned and will be considered as public offence.”
The order mentions provisions under the Government of India Office Order No.40-3/2020-DM-I (A) dated 15th April 2020, SWM Rules 2016 & BBMP’s SWM Byelaws (Draft) – 2020. Fines are Rs 1,000 for the first, and Rs 2,000 for subsequent violations.
‘Bad in law’
According to a legal expert, the SWM rules 2016 do not have any penal provision. He said, “They (BBMP) cannot penalise except in accordance with the law. The order of the BBMP is ultra vires against the law of the land. The BBMP has power to impose a fine of only Rs 50 to 100 as per schedule 12 read with section 431 of the KMC Act.”
“The order has no legal sanctity and an is an extra burden on people during the lockdown. It is also against the will of the patriotic Prime Minister,” he added.
“The SWM draft rules 2020 are still pre mature. The head of BBMP cannot impose penalties on the basis of draft rules,” the legal expert noted.