Tribune News Service
Patiala, June 7
A lady doctor was issued a challan for not wearing a mask while driving a car, apparently when she was on her way for Covid-19 duty. Dr Harjot Kaur, who is posted at the Primary Health Center (PCH) at Sauja in Bhadson block, was challaned on Friday by SHO of Kotwali Nabha, the health department said.
Soon after the incident came to light, Patiala Civil Surgeon Dr Harish Malhotra wrote a letter to the Patiala SSP in this regard. Malhotra wrote that the challan was “unnecessary”.
Malhotra claimed that the health department had been receiving reports that common people were being issued challans for not wearing masks inside the car, which was against the guidelines issued by the Punjab Government.
In the letter, the Civil Surgeon wrote, “As per the Epidemic Disease Act, people will be challaned for not wearing mask in public places only, and not of the people sitting in their car.”
Dr Sumeet Singh, district epidemiologist, said that the mask was compulsory only in public places, as per the state government guidelines, and not in the car.
As per a notification issued by the Director of Health Services, those who don't wear a mask in public places will be imposed with a penalty of Rs 500.
Notably, the district police had issued 2,723 challans for not wearing proper masks until Thursday.
SHO Kotwali Nabha Sarabjeet Singh Cheema, who issued the challan to the doctor, said, “There is no instruction from the government not to challan anyone for not wearing a mask inside the car. So what if she is a doctor. Rules are the same for everyone.”
Narrating the incident, Cheema said that the doctor was stopped by a constable. He added that the doctor did not behave properly and asked the constable to call the SHO. “I went to her and issued a challan. Even the illiterate are wearing face masks inside the car so why was the doctor not wearing it?” Cheema said.
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