The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 has amended the Quarantine Act 2020, by adding the Third Schedule set out in the Thirteenth Schedule to this Act, to bring clarity with respect to the correctness of wearing a protective mask. Notwithstanding the fact that failure to wear a protective mask results in a breach of the COVID-19 (Preventive and Sanitary Measures) Regulations 2021, the Act further affords precision inasmuch as, “failure to wear protective mask over mouth and nose in breach of the COVID-19 (Preventive and Sanitary Measures) Regulations 2021”. This offense is punished with a "Fixed Penalty" of Rs 2000/-.
Ultimately, where a person commits such an offence, the police officer who detects the offence shall:
(1) (a) immediately serve a Fixed Penalty Notice (“FPN”) on that person calling upon him to pay, not later than 28 days after the date of the offence, the corresponding fine of that Schedule (i.e. Rs 2000/-) to the appropriate District Court;
(b) where that person refuses the FPN under paragraph (a), serve, not later than 10 days after the date of the offence, the FPN by sending it by registered post to that person’s usual or last known place of residence or business address, calling upon him to pay, not later than 28 days after the date of the offence, the corresponding fine specified in the third column of that Schedule to the appropriate District Court.
(2) The FPN shall be drawn up in quadruplicate.
(3) The police officer who detects the offence shall –
(a) serve or cause to be served the original of the FPN on the offender;
(b) forward one copy of the FPN to the Commissioner of Police;
(c) forward one copy of the FPN to the appropriate District Court; and
(d) retain the fourth copy of the FPN.
A person who is served with an FPN shall, not later than 28 days after the date of the offence –
(a) attend the appropriate District Court
(b) produce – (i) the FPN; (ii) his National Identity Card; and
(c) pay the fine specified in the FPN.
(2) On receipt of payment, the District Court Officer shall fill the in the relevant part of the FPN and, not later than 14 days after the date of payment, return the FPN to the Police Officer, as the case may be.
Non-payment of fixed penalty
Where a person who has been served with an FPN under section 12A fails to pay the appropriate fine within the time limit mentioned in the FPN and criminal proceedings are instituted against him for the offence in respect of which he was served with the FPN, he shall, notwithstanding this Act, or any other enactment, be liable, on conviction, to a fine, which shall not be less than twice the fixed penalty in respect of that offence.
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