3 Delhi Civil Defence volunteers injured in scuffle at traffic stop

The Delhi government had told the court that wearing masks while driving an official or personal vehicle was made compulsory by way of an office order in April last year, and it remained in force

3 Delhi Civil Defence volunteers injured in scuffle at traffic stop

Photo for representation only. Source: iStock.

New Delhi, April 6

Three Delhi Civil Defence volunteers were injured during a scuffle after a man's car was hit by a vehicle at a traffic signal here when they suddenly stopped a motorist for not wearing a mask, police said on Tuesday.

The fine for not wearing a mask, as per COVID-19 norms, in public places and while driving is Rs 2,000 in the national capital, police said. These volunteers have no powers to impose fines but work in coordination with police to implement the norms.

Police said a passerby, Jitesh, also got caught in the scuffle on Monday afternoon in south Delhi's Hauz Khas area and was hurt.

Three vehicles were involved in the incident at the signal near IIT-Gate, police said.

Just when the traffic lights turned green, the Delhi Civil Defence volunteers stopped a car to penalise its driver for allegedly not wearing a mask, they said.

As a consequence, the driver suddenly applied the brakes and the next car, driven by Gitesh Dagar, also abruptly stopped. Dagar's car was hit from behind by another vehicle due to the sudden halting, a police officer said.

"Dagar came out of his car and argued with the Delhi Civil Defence employees following which he was allegedly attacked with a belt by them," he said.

Pedestrians gathered at the spot and they along with Dagar allegedly attacked Delhi Civil Defence volunteers of whom three were injured and admitted to a hospital, the officer said.

Police, however, said that the medico-legal reports of the injured persons are awaited. The statement of those injured is being recorded, they said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said two FIRs have been registered in connection with the incident.

One of the FIRs was registered on the complaint of the Delhi Civil Defence volunteers and the other, on a complaint from Dagar. "Action as per law is being taken in the matter and investigation in the cases is underway," Thakur said.

The Delhi High Court in February had reserved its decision on several pleas challenging the imposition of challan for not wearing a mask while driving a private car alone.

Justice Prathiba M Singh had heard arguments on behalf of the Centre, Delhi government and the petitioners who were fined for not wearing a mask while driving alone in their respective vehicles.

Advocate Farman Ali Magray, appearing for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, had then submitted that the ministry has not issued any direction asking people to wear masks in a car when they are alone.

He had said health is a state subject and the Delhi government has to take a decision on it.

The Delhi government had told the court that wearing masks while driving an official or personal vehicle was made compulsory by way of an office order in April last year, and it remained in force.

It also said that a private vehicle was held to be a public place by the Supreme Court. — PTI 

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