Assam has reported 1.15 lakh coronavirus cases so far.
The Gauhati High Court on Thursday asked Assam Police to strictly enforce wearing masks and other COVID-19 rules in a hearing into a public interest litigation or PIL that said those violating rules were not being stopped effectively across the state.
Referring to an order issued by the state Health and Family Welfare Department on May 8 this year, the Chief Justice asked the District Heads of Police, Deputy Superintendents of Police and Officers-in-Charge of the Police Stations to be proactive on the streets.
It asked them to follow rules that say those not wearing any face-covering should be fined Rs 500 on the first occasion and Rs 1,000 for subsequent offences.
"In case the directions are violated, fine be imposed as provided in order dated 08.05.2020. The fine imposed on the violators and thus collected be brought to the notice of the Court through the Office of the learned senior Standing Counsel, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of Assam," read the court order passed by Chief Justice Ajai Lamba through a video-conference hearing.
It had also instructed, "The Deputy Commissioners to involve officers/officials from various Departments who would inspect various areas in their respective townships, including Sub-Divisions to find out whether the respective police stations/police officers are complying with the directions."
The petitioner, in the PIL had highlighted, "The State agencies have failed in implementing mandatory use of proper face masks by the residents of the State who move out of their houses. The residents do not maintain proper social distance in public or work places. This has resulted in extensive spread of the Pandemic."
The respondent, Devojit Saikia, senior counsel, Health and Family Welfare Department, of Assam, complained that most of the fines were being blocked because of one technicality or the other. "The government is in the process of meeting all those objections, however one after the other technical objection is raised," he added.
Assam has reported 1.15 lakh coronavirus cases so far including 323 deaths, according to news agency PTI.