Community service will be required to be done at a COVID care center operated by local authorities, with violators required to render ‘non-medical’ services, the Court emphasized.
A violator is expected to devote 4-6 hours a day for a period ranging from 5-15 days towards community service.
The said mandate will operate along with the fines presently imposed for violation of the COVID-19 safety protocol and the failure to wear face masks in public spaces. The Court also enjoined the State to implement this directive without discrimination.
On Friday, the Gujarat High Court suggested the community service penalty after noting that imposing fines has not proved to be a sufficient deterrent against violations of safety norms.
Apart from this, the amount imposed as fine for violations of face mask norms be increased to Rs. 2,000 in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot, and Rs. 1,000 for the rest of Gujarat.
Adverting to a newspaper report from Friday, the Bench was alarmed to note that out of 100 people fined for not wearing a face cover (mask), 47 tested positive for COVID-19, though they did not show any symptoms.
After Advocate General Kamal Trivedi and Government Pleader Manisha Shah agreed that the suggestion could work, they submitted that they would revert to the Court with the government’s stance on the matter.
The Bench expressed that steps such as imposing community service would help ensure greater implementation of compulsory mask wearing to contain the spread of Covid-19.