The PIL filed by activist Feroze Mithiborwala challenging the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the state government on March 1 has resulted in the Bombay High Court asking BMC for an explanation on the legal validity of fines for not wearing masks.
The Bombay High Court questioned the BMC on Monday over the legal provisions under which it was enforcing fines against citizens for failing to wear masks during the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
The court ruled that it would not get involved in the appeal of the aforementioned rulings if the civic body could demonstrate that the fines were issued to “achieve greater good.”
A PIL filed by activist Feroze Mithiborwala challenging the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the state government on March 1 that extended its decision to allow only “fully vaccinated” people to use public transportation and make masks mandatory was being heard by a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav J Jamdar.
In addition, Uddhav Thackeray, a former chief minister, and other officials were to be prosecuted under the IPC for allegedly abusing their positions of authority by mandating masks.
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The petitioner’s attorney, Nilesh Ojha, cited provisions of the Disaster Management Act that stated the government could only impose a fine after a conviction, not before.
Senior Attorney SU Kamdar argued on behalf of the state government that the Supreme Court had ruled that the vaccine and other mandates could not be criticised and that only the civic bodies could respond to the question of fines collected because the state had no involvement in the matter.
The court ordered BMC’s senior attorney, Anil Sakhare, to demonstrate which laws the municipal government had used to collect fines from its citizens. The bench scheduled another hearing in the case in two weeks after Sakhare requested more time to answer.