Spitting on the streets of Mumbai will soon be an expensive affair, with the Maharashtra government reportedly approving an anti-spitting law.
The anti-spitting law of the Maharashtra government combines monetary punishment with mandatory community service.
As per reports, a first-time offender caught spitting will have to shell out a Rs 1000 fee and take a day out to do social work at a public hospital or a government office.
Second time offenders will have to shell out Rs 3,000, plus go for three-day community service. And repeat offenders will have to pay Rs 5,000 and do five-days of community service.
“We have discussed the issue in the cabinet meeting and decided to form a committee led by health minister Dr Deepak Sawant. Their report will be submitted within a month,” said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.
Dr Sawant, who has been working on the draft for months, said the law will be in place within the next six months. The anti-spitting bill will now have to cleared in both the state legislature houses. “The offender should do community service in a government hospital or office, like take on sweeping for a day or more. Designated officers will be appointed in every establishment,” added Dr Sawant.
The law is likely to act as a precursor to banning chewing tobacco in public. People who chew tobacco cannot avoid spitting because tobacco stimulates the salivary glands to produce more saliva. “The harms of passive smoking led to the ban on smoking in public places. Now, the recognition about how spitting can spread infectious diseases will lead to a ban on chewing tobacco at public places,” said cancer specialist and anti-tobacco activist Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi from Tata Memorial Hospital.
Dr A Bamne, executive health officer of BMC, said an anti-spitting law would bring down transmission of all airborne diseases. “It will also affect the tobacco-chewing habit as people will be restrained from spitting out tobacco. This is a move towards a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr Bamne.
A four-minister committee has been set up to work out the bill’s modalities. “The committee will give a report to the government at the end of monsoon session. It will frame rules to be followed,” he said.
BMC had a bye-law on anti-spitting or littering in public places, but failed. Dr Sawant, though, assured that there would be no political intervention with the anti-spitting law. “The committee will suggest who will be the implementing authority at various places and how to collect the fines. For instance, in Mumbai city, BMC commissioner will be the in-charge, but traffic police or police could be authorized to collect fine on the roads,” the health minister added.
The government plans to develop a software to track offenders and use the CCTV network to look for offenders.
What is your opinion about this law? Should every state have such a law to avoid, rather disgusting and smelly passageways, staircases, and other such public places? Express your views in the comments section below.