The Madras High Court on Thursday (17th September) directed the State Government to strictly implement the amended Rule (framed indicating the punishment for non-wearing of the mask, violating social distancing and spitting in public places) which came into being pursuant to the above Government Order dated 04.09.2020
The Court also directed that due publicity will have to be given to the Rule and the action that is likely to be taken.
The Division Bench of Justice M. M. Sundresh and Justice R. Hemalatha was hearing a writ petition filed by a practising Lawyer, seeking appropriate action on the part of the respondents towards the banning of spitting in public in tune with the provisions of The Prohibition of Smoking and Spitting Act, 2002, particularly, in the light of Pandemic situation.
Prayer of the Petitioner
Petitioner filed a Plea under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus, directing the respondents to:-
(a) Ban Spitting in Public and made punishable under the provisions of Prohibition of Smoking and Spitting Act, 2002 and strictly implement the same;
(b) Direct the Public Health Board to provide Public Sanitary conveniences and regulate deposit of rubbish/ garbage on streets in total implementation of prohibition of defecation in Open Place Act, 2019 passed by the Government of India;
(c) Manage and segregate waste in a scientific manner, more particularly medical hazardous and toxic waste and other plastic waste, to prevent the spread of COVID Pandemic and other epidemics, to prevent environmental pollution and the authorities to file a report on disposal track of such waste;
(d) Monitor all staff of private and Government establishments are provided with sufficient toilets and levy penalties on faulting staff who defecate on public streets/roads;
(e) Implement the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 strictly all over the state of Tamil Nadu and levy penalties as per the act on the persons who have not implemented the same in violations of the said Act; and
(f) Give widespread consciousness and awareness at all public places by installation of boards and spreading the message to practice social distancing and wearing of appropriate masks which will prevent infection.
It may be noted that a Government Order in G.O.(Ms.) No.326, Health and Family Welfare (AB2) Department, dated 04.09.2020, was issued, by which, in exercise of the power conferred under Section 138-A of the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939, relevant Rule has been framed indicating the punishment for non-wearing of the mask, violating social distancing and spitting in public places
Though the aforesaid rule has come into being, the counsel for the petitioner submitted before the Court that it has not been followed in letter and spirit.
In context of the aforesaid rule, the High Court said,
"We have already issued appropriate directions earlier to the authorities in the State of Tamil Nadu to implement the provisions strictly. We only reiterate that the amended Rule which came into being pursuant to the above said Government Order dated 04.09.2020 will have to be implemented strictly by the respondents. Due publicity will have to be given on the Rule and the action that is likely to be taken." (emphasis supplied)
Further the Court said,
"Insofar as the other issues sought to be raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner with respect to segregation of medical wastes with the other wastes, we are not willing to go into the same for want of appropriate respondents. Accordingly, we are not inclined to go into the same. However, Liberty is given to the petitioner for filing a comprehensive writ petition." (emphasis supplied)
Case Title: N. Rajkumar v. The Chief Secretary to Government and others
Case No.: W.P.No.9927 of 2020
Quorum: Justice M. M. Sundresh and Justice R. Hemalatha
Appearance: Advocate M. Gnanasekar (for the Petitioner); Addl. Govt. Pleader R. Vijaya Kumar (for RR1 to 3); R.Gopinath (for R4).
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