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The Petitioner-Advocate has argued that there could be no fine for not wearing a mask in a personal, private vehicle while travelling alone as it is not a “public place”.
An Advocate has moved the Delhi High Court seeking compensation of Rs 10 lakh after he was fined Rs 500 for not wearing a mask while driving alone in his car. (Saurabh Sharma vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate, East & Ors)
The Petitioner, Advocate Saurabh Sharma, is an advocate with 20 years of practice.
As per the Petitioner, on September 9, while he was on his way to his office, he was stopped near Geeta Colony by Delhi Police officials.
One of the officials first took his photo while he was still sitting in his car and then asked him to alight, it is said.
“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 Petitioner has narrated.
Although the Petitioner “tried to impress” upon the offices that since he was travelling alone, he had not committed any offence, no heed was paid by the officials and a challan was issued.
The fine was thereafter paid by the Petitioner to the officials albeit under protest.
Arguing that the “unjust and illegal stopping” and "extortion" of fine caused “huge mental turmoil and harassment”, the Petitioner has not only sought the refund of the Rs 500 paid by him as fine but has also prayed for grant of compensation of Rs 10,00,000 from the Delhi Government.
In his petition before the Court, the Petitioner has submitted that there could be no challan for not wearing a mask in a personal, private vehicle while travelling alone as it is not a “public place”.
“..wearing a mask while sitting alone in the car is not a hazard to anyone’s health and safety but wearing it all the time even when a person is alone is certainly a health hazard for oneself.", the petition reads.
It is added that there has been no Executive order directing people to wear a mask while travelling alone and thus, any such fine levied on the general public by authorities is liable to be quashed.
The petition was heard today by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla.
After hearing the counsel for the Petitioner, the Court sought the relevant document from the Respondent authorities.
The Petitioner was represented by Advocate KC Mittal with Advocate Yugensh Mittal. The petition was filed through Advocate Joby P Varghese.
The matter would be heard next on November 18.
Read the Order: