MADURAI: Health department officials have now been made competent to collect fines from the public who violate compoundable offences under the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939 such as violation of quarantine measures, social distancing, non-wearing of face masks, spitting in public places.
According to an order (dated September 17) issued by Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan, as an effective prevention activity to control the spread of COVID-19, health department officials have thus been authorised to collect fine amount for the offences punishable under sub-section (2) of section 76 of the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939, besides officials from the local bodies, revenue department and police department. Also, the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has been ordered to create a new head of account to which the amount would be deposited.
While the Joint Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (Epidemics) would act as the state-level Nodal and Monitoring Officer, the Deputy Director of Health Services will serve as the district-level Nodal and Monitoring Officer for this purpose, the order stated.
Further, at the field-level, officials of public health department (not below the rank of Health Inspector), officials of Corporations, municipalities and urban local bodies (not below the rank of a sanitary inspector), police personnel (not below the rank of sub-inspector) and revenue officials (not below the rank of Revenue Inspector) have been authorised for the collection of fines, based on the Ordinance issued for the amendment of Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939 on September 4.