SPITTING IN INDIA: A PUBLIC NUISANCE

 INTRODUCTION

As you are aware that Smoking/spitting tobacco is also a major public health hazard which contributes to the spreading of communicable diseases like Tuberculosis, Swine Flu, Avian Flu and Pireumonia disease. As India combats the novel coronavirus and ensures the safety of every citizen, the government is making stringent laws to help control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

On that note and in view of this there are new laws that can come into force as a bane to many Pan Masala lovers. The national directive on lockdown conditions issued by the Home Ministry on Wednesday, April 15 states that the violators will be punished. It states that “Spitting in public spaces shall be punishable with a fine. There should be a strict ban on the sale of liquor, gutka, tobacco etc.” 

RELEVANT PROVISIONS APPLICABLE

Following are the sections under the Indian Penal Code, 1860:-

  1. Section 268 : Public nuisance:- a person is guilty of a public nuisance who does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger, or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right.
  1. Section 269:- Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease danger­ous to life:—Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
  1. Section 278 :- Making atmosphere noxious to health:—Whoever voluntarily vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

WHAT’S IN IT?

The Union Ministry has made public spitting an offence under the Disaster Management Act. With a daily rise of novel coronavirus, the patients around the country and the State Governments are ensuring strict laws. On that note, Himachal Pradesh police have issued a law for people who spit in public will now be charged with attempt to murder.

The reason for this measure that not only Himachal Pradesh but various states around the country are banning spitting because of its scientific reasons. Medical professionals state that droplets expelled in the air by infected patients via coughing or sneezing are the common means of transmission of the virus. As such, spitting is more dangerous as it can carry the pathogen to a longer distance than even coughing or sneezing could. 

CONCLUSION

Other states in India have their own take when it comes to public spitting. In states like Uttar Pradesh, pan masala products are banned to discourage spitting. Other states including Bihar, Telangana, Haryana, and Assam, have banned smokeless tobacco products and public spitting. Furthermore, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation imposed ₹1000 fine on anyone caught spitting in public. So everyone, do be careful and refrain from spitting in public.  

BOOKS REFERRED

  1.  Pillai’s, P S A Criminal Law Lexis Nexis 13th edition 2017 p. 537

WEBSITES REFERRED

  1. https://curlytales.com/you-can-now-be-charged-with-attempt-to-murder-if-you-spit-in-public-places/#:~:text=The%20national%20directive%20on%20lockdown,%2C%20gutka%2C%20tobacco%20etc.%E2%80%9D
  2. http://pbhealth.gov.in/6e.pdf
  3. https://www.ijlmh.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Law-Relating-to-Public-Nuisance-in-India.pdf
  4. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/734195/#:~:text=%E2%80%94Whoever%20unlawfully%20or%20negligently%20does,with%20fine%2C%20or%20with%20both
  5. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/209076/
  6. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1368265/#:~:text=278.,extend%20to%20five%20hundred%20rupees.
  7. https://www.dreamstime.com/no-spitting-sign-white-background-illustration-no-spitting-sign-illustration-isolated-white-warning-sign-red-circle-image137114866