Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Monday said "high profile" people in posh areas in Mumbai aren't following the norms pertaining to Covid19. The HC bench has also ordered the authorities to increase police vigilance in such posh areas like Malabar Hill.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Sahyog Trust highlighting the discrepancy in fine amounts being recovered from citizens by different authorities for not wearing masks or for violating Covid19 norms.
Government Pleader Priyabhushan Kakade, while tendering an affidavit told the bench said, "We have different fine amounts for not wearing mask, using public transport without permissions, breaching COVID19 rules, performing weddings with crowd etc.. We have fines ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 15,000."
Kakade further told the bench that the fine amounts recovered, are used for disaster management and for controlling the pandemic in the state.
While taking the affidavit on record, Chief Justice Datta said, "From this amount you can also buy and distribute masks and other essentials to the poor people living on the roads, the ones below the poverty line. They won't have money to purchase all this."
Justice Kulkarni said the authorities need to now attend the unattended citizens of our society. "You (authorities) need to check them too. Ensure that they have all essentials to avoid getting infected."
Further during the hearing, CJ Datta shared his personal experience of Malabar Hill and said how people there aren't wearing masks.
"At Malabar Hill, where high profile people live. There, I saw a woman in the morning, she might have returned from her walk. She had mobile and earphones but wasn't wearing a mask," CJ Datta said.
"I think the major problem is that there is no vigil in these areas. I can see police in heavy numbers in that area but to only clear the path for my convoy or for the Chief Minister's, who lives nearby. But there is no vigil at strategic points," the chief justice added.
The chief justice, while referring to a news item he read earlier, said, "It (news item) stated that there were huge numbers in Malabar Hill. This is because no one is caring to even wear a mask. People roam around without masks and there is no police vigil."
Meanwhile, Justice Kulkarni stressed on the need to start inoculating the poor citizens living on roads, below the flyovers etc. "They shouldn't be deprived of the vaccines. It's high time we keep a proper check on them too," the judge said.
The bench further asked the state authorities to consider giving a separate mask for the physically or mentally disabled persons so as to identify that they are citizens with special needs.
The matter would be next heard on May 13.