How states are penalising public for violating Covid-19 rules

COVID-19 rules violations fines: Besides masks, other violations include spitting and consumption of tobacco in public places, violation of Covid-19 quarantine rules, not maintaining social distancing, etc.

At a time when the national capital is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Delhi government has hiked the fine for not wearing a face mask to Rs 2,000 from Rs 500 earlier. Depending upon the situation in their respective states, several governments have increased and decreased fines for flouting Covid-19 management rules from time to time.

Besides masks, other violations include spitting and consumption of tobacco in public places, violation of Covid-19 quarantine rules, not maintaining social distancing, etc. The Centre has already made wearing face masks/covers mandatory in public places/workplaces. The guidelines are being enforced by district magistrates across the country through fines and penal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Here is how states are imposing fines on public for non-compliance with Covid-19 rules:

Delhi: Last week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the fine for not wearing a face mask has been increased to Rs 2,000 from Rs 500 following the capital reporting record number of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Spitting and consumption of tobacco in public places, violation of Covid-19 quarantine rules and not maintaining social distancing will also attract a fine of Rs 2,000 in the national capital.

Maharashtra: According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), those not wearing face masks/covers in public will be fined Rs 200 in Mumbai. In Pune, the notification states Rs 500 penalty against those violating mandatory use of masks and Rs 1,000 for spitting in public places. For spitting, those found repeating the offence will have to shell out Rs 3,000 and three days of public service. Third time offenders will have to pay Rs 5,000 and five days of public service. Recently, a hundred-odd were handed brooms or mops and made to sweep or clean up stretches of roads in the city.

Karnataka: In October, the government reduced the fine for the violation to Rs 250 from Rs 1,000 in urban areas, and to Rs 100 from Rs 500 in rural areas in the state. The revision came less than a week after the government imposed the hefty penalty starting October 1, which had led to public outrage.

Kerala: Kerala has made it mandatory for people to follow Covid-19 safety guidelines for a year and as per revised guidelines, those found not wearing masks will be fined Rs 500 — down from Rs 10,000 that was being levied earlier.

Tamil Nadu: In the state, those who violate quarantine measures will have to pay a fine of Rs 500. For not wearing masks, one has to pay Rs 200, and if found spitting in public places, a fine of Rs 500 will be imposed. If anyone is found violating the SOPs in salons and spas, gymnasium, commercial establishments or any other such places, they will need to pay Rs 5,000 as a fine amount.

Odisha: The government is levying a Rs 200 fine for the first three offences in not following Covid-19 protocols, following which it is increased to Rs 500 for every ensuing offence.

Uttar Pradesh: The fine for violating the mask mandate in the state was raised to Rs 500 from Rs 100 in July.

Haryana: According to revised Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) rules, people not wearing masks in public areas can be fined up to Rs 2500. In other regions, the government has authorised Block Development Officers, tehsildars, and other officers in higher authorities to levy a penalty of Rs 500 from offenders.

Punjab: The fine for not wearing a mask in a public place in the state is presently Rs 500, revised from Rs 200 in the last week of May.

Rajasthan: Earlier this month, Rajasthan assembly passed a bill making it mandatory for people to wear face masks in public, the first state to pass such a legislation. According to the new clause in the Rajasthan Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020, the “movement of any person in public place, public transport, private transport, workplace or at any social, political, general function or gathering without properly covering his mouth and nose with face mask or face cover”.

Madhya Pradesh: In Gwalior, citizens found without mask or not following the Covid-19 prevention guidelines at public places will have to work as volunteers in hospitals and police check-posts for three days. Besides, fines will also be imposed on violators.

Gujarat: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) increased the fine for not wearing a mask and spitting in public places from Rs 200 to Rs 500. A penalty of Rs 10,000 will be imposed on owners of paan shops if people are caught spitting in its vicinity.

Jharkhand: According to the Jharkhand Contagious Disease Ordinance, penalty up to Rs 1 lakh and a jail term up to two years can be imposed against those not wearing masks in public places and spitting in public. The decision was taken by the state cabinet in July this year.

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