Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea challenging clause 3(g) of the Delhi Epidemic Diseases, (Management of COVID-19) Regulations, 2020, which authorises the police officer of the rank of Sub Inspector and above to impose fine on any person who violates the provisions of the said notification.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan has issued notice to the Delhi Government and will next take up the matter on August 28.
Moved by Ms Sonia Rana, the petition claims that the authorisation of a police officer to impose fine under the COVID19 Regulations of the Delhi Government violates the principle of 'Audi Alteram Partem' and other principles of natural justice.
It is argued by the Petitioner that since a fine qualifies as a punishment under section 53 of the Indian Penal Code, the same can only be awarded by a judge and not by a police officer.
The petition states that:
'Regulations are Secondary Legislation and are been formulated under the powers conferred under Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 which is a primary legislation, and hence sub-delegation of secondary legislation shall not be permitted.'
It is the case of the Petitioner that a complainant cannot be an investigation officer himself and in the present regulation, a police officer has de facto been labeled as a judge.
The Petitioner has further argued that:
'Because by the present regulation, Punishment will be awarded by a police officer who is a complainant and is an investigation officer himself which is against the principles of natural justice and laws by The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India and this Hon'ble Court as well.'
Therefore, the Petitioner has sought the quashing of the Regulation 3(g) of The Delhi Epidemic Diseases, (Management Of Covid-19) Regulations, 2020.
The Petitioner in this case is being represented by Mr Dhananjay Singh Sehrawat.
Case Title: Sonia Rana v. GNCTD