Starting Monday, the police in Kozhikode city will catch those who spit in public places and ask them to pay a fine of Rs 5,000. Those who are unable to pay the amount will end up in prison for one year.
According to the police, the action will based on Section 120(e) of the Kerala Police Act, which states that "if persons defile water sources or water supply or cause hindrance to public sanitation activities or make public place dirty or causes serious damage to environment unlawfully, they shall, on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with both."
The police action assumes significance as Kerala is fighting to check the spread of COVID-19. More than 3,000 people have been put under surveillance in different parts of the state since Sunday.
Kozhikode City Police Commissioner A V George told Onmanorama that the police aim to improve public hygiene by implementing the law. "Spitting in public places is an offence. But the police turned a blind eye to the offenders. The scenario will change from today. Strict enforcement of the law will help in Kerala's fight against Coronavirus," he said.
The police will issue notice to the offenders, asking them to pay the fine at the court. "Those who evade the fine will be produced in court," he said.
George said enforcing the law is not a tough task. "This habit of public spitting will reduce with the strict implementation of the law. We are sure that people will co-operate with us," he said.
Kozhikode thus became the first city in the state to take action against those who spit in public places.