Hyderabad: Not wearing a mask is no more going to be just a reckless move during the Covid-19 pandemic. From now on, it is a crime that can see you end up in court.
The Telangana Police have decided to send those not wearing masks to court after filing a petty case online. After registering the case, the police will file a charge-sheet enclosing a photograph of the violator as evidence. The court can impose a fine of Rs 1,000, and in case the violator is not in a position to pay the sum, it can also award a sentence to him ranging from one day or more.
“We are following the procedure that is being adopted for drunk driving cases,” an official said, adding that a case against violators of the mask rule would be registered under Section 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act.
Apart from booking cases with the help of tabs during patrolling, the police are also tracking down mask violators using artificial intelligence (AI) to make surveillance cameras track down such people and then alert mobile patrols in the area.
From May 7 to 19, the police booked 16,264 cases against those violating the mask rule. Using AI, the State police started tracing violators since May 8. It was first introduced in the three commissionerates in the State capital – Cyberabad, Hyderabad and Rachakonda — and later extended across the State.
Hyderabad stood first with over 3,892 cases while Ramagundam and Rachakonda saw 1,461 and 1,105 cases being booked respectively.
“As of now, we have not sent anyone to courts as they are closed. Once they reopen, we will start the process,” an official said.
The police will also produce in court persons against whom First Information Reports (FIR) were issued for violating lockdown restrictions, including failing to wear masks.
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