Delhi High Court has issued a notice in a plea moved by A Delhi-based lawyer demanding compensation of ₹10 lakh and a refund of the ₹500 fine imposed on him for not wearing a mask while he was driving the car alone.
The Single Bench of Justice Navin Chawla has issued notices to the Central Government as well as the Delhi Government while hearing the petitioner, Advocate Saurabh Sharma, who has challenged the challan of ₹500 issued by Sub-Divisional Magistrate (East) for allegedly not wearing a mask in a public place.
As per the Petitioner, on September 9, he was issued a challan by the Sub-divisional Magistrate (East), Delhi, while he was driving alone on his way to his office. After making inquiries about the offense committed from the police officer, the petitioner was informed that “since he was traveling in his car without wearing a mask, he will be fined for a sum of ₹500 under the offense of not wearing a mask in a public place.”
Initially, the petitioner tried to reason the officers that he had not committed any offense since he was traveling alone, nonetheless, the officers refused to listen to him and a challan was issued. despite multiple requests, the concerned police officer failed to show any executive order which makes it mandatory to wear masks while driving alone in private vehicles.
While arguing that a private car cannot be equated with a public space, the petitioner has submitted that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, so far, has issued no order which mandates wearing masks while driving alone in a private car.
Further on, the petition has said the fine imposed “unjust and illegal stopping” and stated that this "extortion" of fine has caused the petitioner “huge mental turmoil and harassment”. Therefore, it seeks a refund of ₹500 paid as the fine along with compensation of ₹10 lakhs from the Delhi Government citing mental agony caused by such arbitrary and unreasonable action.
The Court has also asked the Centre’s stand on the issue raised by the petitioner.
The Petitioner was represented by Advocate KC Mittal, Advocate JobyVerghese, and the plea was filed through Advocate Yugensh Mittal.
The matter has been posted for the next hearing on November 18, 2020.