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Delhi HC notice to govt on PIL seeking to quash notification empowering cops to impose fine for defying Covid norms

ANI | Updated: Jul 28, 2020 23:44 IST

New Delhi [India], July 28 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to Delhi Government on a petition seeking direction to quash its notification which empowers officers of the rank of Sub-Inspector and above of Delhi Police to impose a minimum fine of Rs 500 on people violating guidelines related to mask, quarantine and social-distancing.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the state government to file response on the petition filed by Sonia Rana through advocate Dhananjay Singh Sehrawat, who has sought to quash Regulation 3(g) of The Delhi Epidemic Diseases, (Management Of Covid-19) Regulations, 2020.
The petitioner told the court that under the regulations, the Police officer of the rank of Sub Inspector and above of Delhi Police have been designated as Authorized Persons are empowered to impose a fine on any offender appertaining to violating the directives and guidelines.
"It would be pertinent to mention that as per section 53 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Fine is a punishment. It is established that punishment can only be awarded by a judge and not by a police officer, hence the said notification is against the principles of natural justice and will
be violative of the principle of Audi Alteram Partem which is a principle of fundamental justice as an accused person would not be able to justify his part," the court said.

Also, the Regulations are Secondary Legislation and are been formulated under the powers conferred under Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 which is primary legislation, and hence sub-delegation of secondary legislation shall not be permitted, the petitioner further added.
Under Regulation 3(g) of the Delhi Epidemic Diseases, (Management Of Covid-19) Regulations, 2020, Delhi Police officials above the rank of sub-inspector have been authorized with the power to impose a fine of Rs 500 for the first time and a further fine of Rs 1000 for the repeated offence, respectively for violating the directives and guidelines pertaining to quarantine rules, wearing of face mask, the prohibition of spitting and prohibition on consumption of paan, gutka, tobacco etc in public places.
On June 13 guidelines have been issued by Delhi Disaster Management Authority.
The petitioner told the court that the decision has been taken in a haphazard manner and the prudent mind has not applied before taking this decision.
She said that this decision will adversely affect and will leave a dreadful precedent on the justice system as regulations formulated are secondary legislation and secondary legislation shall be further sub-delegated. (ANI)