Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Thursday ordered the Maharashtra government to consider implementing the anti-begging laws as this would not only help contain the spread of the virus among the beggars but also help in rescuing them.
The bench has also ordered the state to spell out if the provisions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are being implemented for disposing of the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, masks and even hand gloves.
"We have seen in the media reports how these kits are being disposed of just outside the hospital gates. There have been several instances wherein the PPE kits are removed and dumped outside the gate and people continue to pass by the disposed of material," Justice Kulkarni told additional government pleader B V Samant.
"This could be dangerous," the judge added.
During the course of the hearing, Samant pointed out that on April 13, the Maharashtra government had issued orders under the #BreakTheChain campaign and had also provided for fines for not wearing masks.
"Then on April 21, a Government Resolution (GR) was issued notifying the hike in fines for marriages, public events etc in breach of Covid rules," Samant said.
At this, the chief justice asked Samant to place on record, on the next date of hearing, as to how is the state implementing the GR. "Also, let us know how much fine is collected till now," CJ Datta ordered.
Meanwhile, Justice Kulkarni sought the state to attend to those living on pavements and begging on streets to survive.
"Though it is out of topic but this is the right time to implement the anti-begging act. You (state) can use this act and ensure that these people don't remain on the streets," Justice Kulkarni said.
"Rescue these people and even children and send them to beggers home or their own homes. This will also ensure that the pandemic doesn't spread more," Justice Kulkarni added.
The bench further noted that the state has already printed separate masks for differently abled citizens and have started distributing it to them.
The bench was seized with a PIL filed by Sahyog Trust through advocate Asim Sarode seeking uniformity in he fines being imposed by various authorities for breach of Covid rules.