Cop fines a lawyer for not wearing mask, lawyer asks Government to pay ₹10 lakh compensation

In a recent incident, an advocate has approached 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.

The lawyer, identified as Saurabh Sharma, was fined Rs 500 by the Delhi Police for not wearing a face mask while he was driving his car. Advocate Saurabh Sharma filed a petition claiming compensation of Rs 10 lakh for mental harassment.

Sharma, who has been practicing law for more than two decades, was fined Rs 500 by Delhi Police officials for driving his car without wearing a mask. Advocate Sharma told that while he was going to his office in his car on the morning of September 9, he was stopped by the Delhi police officials near Geeta Colony.

Cops captured his photo while he was sitting in the car and then asked him to alight. The lawyer also stated that he had asked the police to show the official order related to COVID-19 guidelines mandating wearing a mask even after being alone in a personal vehicle. But the authorities didn’t show any order.

“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 said.

According to COVID-19 guidelines released by the health ministry, it is not compulsory for a person to wear a mask if they are not accompanied by any other person.

He further said that he made constant efforts to impress upon the officials that he had not committed any offence as he was alone in the car, they didn’t hear a word and issued the challan.

The petitioner has not only asked for the refund of the amount paid by him but has also asked the government to grant Rs 10 lakh compensation for the “unjust and illegal stopping” and “extortion” of fine which caused “huge mental turmoil and harassment”.

“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,” said the petition.

The matter was heard by single judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla on Thursday. The court has directed the respondent authorities to submit the relevant document and has posted the matter for November 18.

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.