The Gujarat High Court on Friday observed that imposing fine for not wearing masks is not enough as a punishment for the public and the State Government should consider that those who violate the rule must be made work at Covid -19 centres.
The suggestion is not final and yet to be discussed by the Court and the State Government on Tuesday (December 1).
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala heard a Public Interest Litigation filed by Advocate Vishal Awtani, requesting for appropriate directions given to the State for increasing the fine if someone doesn’t wear or cover his face with a mask.
He said that the fine for not covering the face with a mask should be increased to Rs. 2,000/- in the cities of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot and Rs. 1,000/- for the other cities in Gujarat.
He also said that fine is not the only solution to make people wear a mask whenever they visit a public place and so in addition to the fine imposition, necessary steps may be issued in a manner that whosoever caught without a mask on his face, he will be made to do community services at Covid-19 Centres for 10-15 days, serving as a non-medical staff.
The Division Bench, thinking it as a good suggestion, observed-
“We also think that such punishment if imposed would surely ensure large implementation of the mandatorily wearing of mask that will definitely help us in controlling the patients of Covid-19.”
The Court also showed its concern when it noted that out of 100 people upon whom the fine was imposed for not wearing a mask, 47 were tested positive chronic condition.
The Bench made an opinion that steps are needed to be taken in order to discourage not wearing masks. The Court observed,
“Learned Advocate General and the learned Government Advocate also think this suggestion to be useful as a discouragement, but they have requested for some time to come back after getting directions from the State Government.
As it will need urgent attention at the State Level and also by us, we direct that for further steps, we are listing this petition to be heard on Tuesday (01.12.2020) at 11.00 a.m.