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File photo used for representational purpose.
File photo used for representational purpose.

Mask on, mask off: Can Delhi Police issue challans to people in private cars?

  • Health Ministry has clarified there is no guideline on people without masks when alone in their private vehicles.
  • Delhi Police says it considers cars as public spaces and will wait for specific directives.
  • A penalty of 500 is imposed on people without masks in public spaces.

Recent weeks have seen a lot of vocal protests against motorists being penalized for not wearing a mask while on the move in Delhi in their personal vehicles. Many questioned why they need to have a mask on if they are alone in their cars and if all windows are rolled up. Nonetheless, several instances of traffic cops halting motorists and issuing challans have been reported for 'violating' guidelines taken out in Covid-19 times. Just that there is no guideline in this particular regard.

Yes, the health ministry recently clarified that there is no mention that a driver in a private vehicle in Delhi has to compulsorily wear a mask if he or she is alone inside the car. This was confirmed by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, according to Hindustan Times.

Delhi Police however has said that it has been following the guideline that people not wearing a mask will be fined 500. “Because a car is considered a public place, we are issuing fines. Any officer of the rank of a sub-inspector or above can issue the fine. We are yet to receive any written order that states otherwise. As soon as we receive the new directives, we will start following them," a senior police official was quoted as saying in the same report mentioned above.

Delhi Police has been issuing between 1,200 and 1,500 fines on an average each day to people flouting the mask rule in public spaces. Many of these are people sans mask in private vehicles. And while wearing a mask at all times when outside homes is advisable, many continue to argue that their personal vehicle is much like their homes and a mask while on the move ought not to be made madatory, enforced with fines.

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