Citing absence of a proper notification, officials on Friday continued to impose Rs 500 fine on people not using face masks in public places, a day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced hiking the penalty to Rs 2,000. Though the decision to hike the fine from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 has been announced, but it cannot be legally enforced unless a proper notification is received from the government, officials said.
Kejriwal made the announcement on Thursday as the national capital has been witnessing a spike in coronavirus cases. "We have not received any written notification in this regard yet and so we have continued to issue challan of Rs 500 for those found not wearing masks," said a senior police officer. Data shared by the Delhi Police showed that a total of 2,507 challans were issued for various violations under COVID-19 guidelines, till 4 pm on Friday. On Friday, over 2,000 challans were issued to people not wearing masks, police officials said.
District teams also imposed the previous fine of Rs 500 on those not wearing masks, saying no notification of the Delhi government has been received by them. "It is legally not feasible to change the amount of a fine in the absence of a proper government order or notification," said a district official.
It was later on Friday evening that the Delhi government's health department issued the notification for imposition of Rs 2,000 fine for not using face mask in public places, spitting and consumption of tobacco in public places, violation of COVID-19 quarantine rules and not maintaining social distancing. The notification was issued by the health department following Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal's approval.
The national capital has witnessed a spurt in coronavirus cases since October 28, when the daily rise breached the 5,000-mark for the first time, and it crossed the 8,000-mark on November 11.