In a move that could bring the city within spitting distance of cleanliness, the state government is planning to make people spitting in public places fork out fines as high as R5,000 and engage in community service like sweeping and cleaning for five days.
Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant said the offence would not be criminal in nature but enforced in such a manner that the offenders would not dare to commit it again. Pic for representation
Taxi, auto and bus drivers spitting on the roads may also end up having their licences suspended. These measures were part of a draft of proposed amendments to the existing law against spitting in public places which was passed by the state Cabinet yesterday. They are aimed at preventing the spread of tuberculosis and other contagious diseases.
A group of ministers headed by health minister Dr Deepak Sawant will prepare a draft of the law for tabling it in the monsoon session of the state legislature next month. The draft that was passed by the Cabinet provides for a fine of Rs 1,000 and community service for one day for the first offence, scaling up to R5,000 and five days for repeat offences (see box).
Sawant said the offence would not be criminal in nature but enforced in such a manner that the offenders would not dare to commit it again. He said they were also looking at the possibility of enforcement agencies suspending the driving licences of taxi, auto and bus drivers who spit on the roads.
The minister said the primary concern of his group would be to decide on the enforcement agencies. “We will decide on making government or civic agencies in-charge of enforcement within a month. There are many things on our mind that we would like to incorporate in the amended law,” he said.
Sawant said community service would be a major deterrent. “A person caught spitting in a hospital will be asked to do cleaning for one day on the hospital premises in full public view. Repeat offences will invite more days of community work and more fines,” he said.
Spit in the ocean?
A law against spitting in public places is already in existence and the BMC has been acting against offenders by imposing fines. The civic body had also appointed clean-up marshals but scrapped the 3-year-old scheme in 2013 after complaints of extorting money from citizens were received against the contractual staffers.
On the anvil
>> 1st offence - Fine of Rs 1,000 and community service (cleaning/sweeping) for one day
>> 2nd offence - Fine of Rs 2,000 and community service for three days
>> 3rd offence - Fine of Rs 5,000 and community service for five days
(Offender will have to do extra days of community service if he/she fails to pay the fine)