Though the fine is not more than Rs. 500, police hope the legal process will act as a deterrent If the beat policeman catches you dumping garbage on the roads, be prepared to go to the court to battle charges of “spreading disease”. In the past 10 days, as many as 100 cases have been booked against residents who were found dumping garbage. Policemen have caught these “offenders” red-handed, hauled them to the police stations, and charged them under Section 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and Section 283 (Danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation) of the IPC. Rahul Kumar Shahapurwad, Deputy Commissioner of Police for East Division, where the cases have been filed, said they were undertaking a special drive to create awareness and deter people. The drive has covered areas such as Banasawadi, K.G. Halli, D.J. Halli, Bharati Nagar and Pulakeshinagar, which have large number of commercial establishments and which generate a lot of garbage compared to residential areas. “Though civic officials have given necessary directions to maintain cleanliness, they continue to dump garbage. Many shopkeepers dump garbage in the night to avoid attention and that is when we catch them,” said Mr. Shahapurwad. A majority of the offenders booked are employees of commercial establishments, who have been instructed by their employers to dispose garbage in public. While this is an unfortunate practice, a senior official who is a part of the drive said employers can also be hauled up and perhaps even be named in the case if the employee confesses to having dumped garbage based on the orders of the business owner. The fines under the sections are just between Rs. 200 and Rs. 500, depending on the discretion of the court, and in extreme cases, a punishment of six-month imprisonment can be given under the law. Police officials said rather than the fines, deterrence comes in the form of getting entangled in legal process, which could last months. In most criminal cases, the accused have to present themselves in the court on the date of the hearing and it is common for these cases to drag on for months before the first hearing. In its October 31 order on the garbage issues in the State, the High Court had directed the police to work out means to keep a vigil against dumping of garbage and to take action.