Mumbai, Apr 7 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra government and the local civic bodies to take appropriate steps to curb the 'menace of spitting' by people in public places, and asked the authorities to increase the amount of fine collected from such offenders.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni suggested that mass campaigns be undertaken to sensitise people against spitting.
The court noted that when the provisions of the Bombay Police Act permits authorities to levy a fine of Rs 1,200 on a person caught spitting, the authorities were only charging Rs 200.
'What is the value of Rs 200 nowadays? You (authorities) are losing revenue. This habit of spitting needs to stop,' the court said.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Armin Wandrewala over the issue, and said spitting was a menace, especially in the time of a pandemic.
The court noted that the authorities have the provision of charging a heavy fine, but still don't.
'From Rs 100, you increased it to Rs 1,200 and when the situation is grim in 2021, you are still charging Rs 200,' said the bench.
In its order, the court asked the state government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to respond to the suggestions put forth by the petitioner such as sensitising policemen and taxi unions to not spit in public among other things.
The court asked them to 'Take appropriate steps under the circumstances against the menace that has been projected by the petitioner.' The court also directed the police, civic and state administration to place signboards or use other media, asking people to avoid spitting.
The bench has posted the plea for further hearing on April 21. PTI SP NP NP