Spitting in public now an offence under Disaster Management Act: MHA

NEW DELHI: Spitting in public without caring two hoots for regulations may not be so easy now with the Union Home Ministry making the act a punishable offence under the strict Disaster Management Act in its revised guidelines for lockdown issued on Wednesday to contain COVID-19. The guidelines issued by the ministry also make wearing of face masks in public places mandatory.

Spitting in public is an offence under municipal laws in various cities, but it is hardly taken seriously by the people in the country.

The Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation has imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 if anyone is caught spitting in public. Similar measures are also in place in municipal corporations of Delhi, and several other states.

Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Haryana, Nagaland and Assam have already issued orders on the ban of use of smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the consolidated revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday in the wake of the extension of lockdown till May 3, spitting has been made punishable with a fine under Section 51 (b) of the Disaster Management Act.

“Spitting in public spaces shall be punishable with a fine. There should be a strict ban on sale of liquor, ‘gutka’, tobacco etc, and spitting should be strictly prohibited,” the national directives issued by the ministry said.

The directives shall be implemented by district magistrates through fines and penal action given under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Refusal to comply with the government orders under the Disaster Management Act may result in imprisonment up to one year or a fine, or both, the directives said.

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