The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on Tuesday, said that it is working towards increasing the fine amount to deter offenders from spitting at public places.
At present, BMC marshals levy a fine of Rs 200 to those found spitting at public spaces. Issuing a statement on Tuesday, it said that the present fine has been in place for many years, which is why it needs to be increased. The statement had no mention of the amount that would be fined. However, a senior official maintained that the new amount could be anywhere between Rs 800 to Rs 1,200.
The official said that the proposal to hike the fine was approved by Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Tuesday and will be presented to the general body. "After the proposal is cleared by the general body, we will present it to the Maharashtra state government, following which it will be implemented," the official said.
Earlier, in April, during an ongoing session, the Bombay High Court had questioned the civic body's move as to why it levies a fine of Rs 200 on violators, while the state mandates a maximum amount of Rs 1,200. However, the officials also maintained that the HC hasn't issued any directive to hike the fine.
"The decision to hike the amount is an internal decision of the BMC. We are doing it so that the number of violators can be controlled. Spitting in public spaces can lead to the spread of many infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and Tuberculosis," the official said.
BMC also said that, so far, it has collected Rs 28.67 lakhs in fine. The highest recovery of Rs 4.70 lakhs has been made from L ward, which covers the Kurla, Asalpha and Chandivali. It is followed by A ward (Marine Drive, Cuffe Parade and Churchgate) at Rs 3.29 lakh and C ward (Kalbadevi, Bhuleshwar and Mumbadevi) at Rs 2.71 lakh.