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'Won't Interfere If For Greater Good': Bombay High Court Asks BMC To Explain Legal Basis For Imposing Fine For Violation Of Mask Mandate

Amisha Shrivastava
19 Sep 2022 12:31 PM GMT
Allahabad High Court, Officers, Officials, Staff, Roaming, Mask, High Court, Premises Face, Disciplinary Action,

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to explain the logic behind imposing fines for violation of mask mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A division bench Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar was hearing two PILs praying for prosecution of former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for vaccine mandates.

The petitions were also seeking refund of fines collected by the state for violation of the mask mandate.

Also Read: Was Fine Collected By BMC For Not Wearing Masks Illegal? Bombay High Court To Decide

Advocate Nilesh Ojha for the petitioner argued that by withdrawing the order mandating wearing of masks, the state government has impliedly admitted that it is unlawful.

Senior Advocate S. U. Kamdar for the state submitted that the BMC, and not the state government has collected fines for violation of mask mandate. The order was withdrawn not because it was illegal but because it was not required due to improvement in Covid conditions.

Chief Justice Datta asked the BMC to explain the basis in law for making it compulsory to wear masks and imposing fines on people who violate the mandate.

"If the government has mandated masks for the greater good, then the court will not interfere," the CJ said.

The court directed the parties to argue on the basis of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The court further said that if the BMC has issued notification mandating mask usage for the greater good of reducing the number of COVID cases, the court would not interfere in the case.

Petitioners had also challenged the restriction on unvaccinated persons from availing public transport. However, in an earlier hearing the court had closed this issue in light of withdrawal of COVID-19 restrictions w.e.f. April 1, 2022.

Case No. – CRPIL/4/2022

Case Title – Sohan Rajeev Agate & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors. with Connected Matter

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