After several members of Rajya Sabha expressed concern about communicable diseases that can be caused by public spitting, Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda on July 19 assured them that he would ask all States to put a ban on spitting in public.
Though, Nadda’s assurance was well intentioned, what he failed to realise was that most municipal laws already prohibit spitting and have even prescribed penalties against it.
Many Municipal Corporation can levy fines for causing “insanitation” which includes anything from shopkeepers allowing trash to collect outside their establishments to individuals littering by “spitting”.
Only problem, these provisions are yet to be enforced due to public attitude towards spitting and widespread culture of betel and tobacco chewing across India.
This attitude has not only kept the unhygienic practice going, but has also ensured that offender don’t get prosecuted.
Back in 2013, Delhi Municipal Corporation had even included spitting as a separate offence in the draft “Sanitation Bye-Laws” and submitted it to the Delhi Government.
They had also proposed a fine of Rs. 250 fine, but it was to no avail.
Similarly, West Bengal too has an “Prevention of Spitting in Public Place Act”, which imposes a fine of Rs. 200 on offenders, yet it too remains only on paper.
Similarly in other states, there are various municipal laws against spitting, but are yet to be implemented and remain only on paper.