Maharashtra: Spit and smoke in public? Go to jail; State proposes stern action under Epidemic Disease Act
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Mumbai: In order to curb spread of coronavirus in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to take stern action against those found spitting and smoking in public. Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope said spitting and smoking in public can land the offender behind the bars for up to six months and repeat offenders for up to 2 years by invoking the provisions of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, and the Indian Penal Code.

Tope argued that the spitting is also contributing to the spread of coronavirus and in view of this the government has decided to implement the prohibitory laws strictly.

The minister's announcement comes in the wake of state government’s efforts to contain the spurt in coronavirus cases and restore normalcy at the earliest. Tope said the first-time offenders will have to pay a fine of Rs 1,000, second time offenders Rs 3,000, and third time offenders will be fined Rs 5,000. Apart from the fine, offenders will also have to engage in public services which will be mandatory.

Tope expressed serious displeasure over the tendency of the members of public to spit, blow their noses and smoke despite repeated appeals and release of curb orders. He reminded that spitting is prohibited under the Bombay Police Act and the offenders have to pay penalty

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