New Delhi, Sep 17 : The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi government over a petition filed by a lawyer challenging Rs 500 challan slapped on him for not wearing a mask while he was driving alone in his car.
Petitioner Saurabh Sharma, who is an advocate with 20 years of practice, has also sought a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for mental harassment suffered by him.
A single judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla sought response from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Delhi government, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and the Delhi Police on the petition.
During the course of hearing, Sharma’s counsel and former Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) Chairman K.C. Mittal told the bench that according to a notification by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it is not mandatory to wear a face mask while driving alone in a car.
According to Sharma’s plea, on September 9, while he was on his way to his office, he was stopped near Geeta Colony by police. One of the officials first took his photo while he was still sitting in his car and then asked him to alight.
“On inquiry, the petitioner was informed that since he was travelling in his car without wearing a mask, he will be fined for a sum of Rs 500 under the offence of not wearing a mask in public place,” the plea said while adding that Sharma then “tried to impress” upon the offices that since he was travelling alone, he had not committed any offence but no heed was paid by the officials and a challan was issued.
The fine was thereafter paid by Sharma to the officials, albeit under protest. “Due to unjust and illegal stopping and extorting from the petitioner in general public caused huge mental turmoil and harassment to the petitioner,” said the plea.
The court has now slated the matter for further hearing on November 18.
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