The Delhi Police has issued over two lakh fines between June 15 and September 2 for violation of COVID-19 norms, with most people being fined for not wearing masks, officials said today.
Fines were also issued to people for spitting in public places and violating social distancing norms, they said.
As many as 2,60,991 fines were issued in 15 police districts during this period and over Rs 13 crore was collected as fines for various violations, they said.
Of the total number of fines, the maximum 29,297 were issued in outer district, followed by 23,389 in west district , 21,181 in Dwarka district and 20,513 in south district.
Out of the total, the maximum 2,33,545 fines were issued for not wearing masks. Of that, 26,889 were issued in the outer district, 20,597 in the west district, 20,330 in the south district, 18,157 in Dwarka district and 15,613 in southeast district, police said.
A total of 2,819 fines were issued for spitting in public places. According to a data shared by the police, of that 460 fines were issued in the outer district, 376 in the west district, 344 in southwest and 249 in Shahdara district besides others.
As many as 24,614 people were fined by police for violating social distancing norms. A maximum of 3,117 fines were issued in southeast district, 2,933 in Dwarka, 2,783 in outer-north district and 2,569 in southwest district among others, police said.
The Delhi Police has distributed 2,47,007 masks to the needy since June 15.
Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal had empowered health, revenue and police officials to impose fines up to Rs 1,000 for violations of norms, including non-observance of quarantine rules, non-maintenance of social distancing, not wearing a face mask in public or work places, spitting in public places, and consumption of paan, gutka and tobacco in public places, to contain COVID-19.
A fine of Rs 500 is imposed for a first-time offence and a fine of Rs 1,000 for repeat offenders.
Police officials said when they issue fines, people come up with different excuses for not wearing masks but they repeatedly explain to them the importance of wearing masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When issuing challans (fines), people come up with various excuses. While some claim they had just stepped outside and had their masks on until a while ago, others claim, they had just removed their mask to either have food or to drink water, but when we ask them to show us the water bottle, they have none.
“But in genuine cases, where we notice people actually removing their masks for drinking water or have their food, we don”t issue challan (fines) to them,” a police officer said.
Another police officer said people often argue with them when they are being issued fines.
“Many a times, we also deal with cases, where people start arguing with us when we challan (fine) them for not wearing masks. Some claim they removed masks because of sweat, some say they have asthma and feel suffocated while wearing masks.
“There are others who say they removed it because they were talking on phone and their voice wasn’t clearly audible, but we do explain to them about the importance of not wearing a masks and try to reason it with them. Sometimes, we warm them that if they misbehave and don”t pay penalty, they will be taken to the police station,” he said.
Some people wear masks, but don”t cover up their nose or chin properly and instead it”s hanging around their neck. In such scenarios too, people are issued fines for not wearing masks properly but in cases, someone who genuinely cannot afford and is in need of it, masks are provided to them on the spot, another police officer said.
Narrating his incident, Jitender Saini, a resident of Delhi, said he was caught by a policeman a few days ago for not wearing a mask when he was sitting inside his friend”s car.
“I asked the policeman who issued challan (fine) to me how could the virus travel out of the closed car. But I still had to pay the penalty.
“Again, I was caught on Wednesday when I pulled down my mask to speak to my parents on phone who were not able to hear me properly because of it. I still had the mask in my hand. It’s not that I stepped out without it and I was inside a cab,” he said.
The policeman stopped me, while he ignored many others who were not wearing a mask, Mr Saini claimed.
“I asked him why he chose to stop me and let others go. I reasoned with him. I had pulled my mask down for a moment to speak to my parents on the phone. This time, I did not pay the penalty and kept on waiting till he let me go,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)