friDAY toll booths to make way for GPS-based collection march, 2021 Physical plazas will be done away with in a year as Centre will use GPS imaging to collect highway levy through FASTag 19 epaper.morningstandard.in free FASTag FOR old vehicles facebook.com/TheMorningStandard While new vehicles are FASTag-enabled by the manufacturers, the older ones would get RFID tags for free from the Centre, said transport minister Nitin Gadkari. He said 93% users were paying the levy through the tag since it was made mandatory on Feb 16. Those not complying will face the heat twitter.com/TheMornStandard diplomacy hurdles talk suggested on touchy issues US defence secy urged to discuss rights violation, Russia deal on India trip Page 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS l New Delhi l J8.00 l Scrap that pays: new policy A GST cut on new vehicles, whose buyers have scrapped their old cars Hike in FCs for vehicles older than 15 yr Road tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles by states proposed Registration fees may be waived off for the new vehicle against the scrapping certificates | P10 35,000 PAGES 12 jobs likely to be created due to the scrappage policy Highest one-day spike in Maha since last year S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @ Mumbai Narendra Modi waves at the crowd before addressing an election rally in West Bengal’s Purulia district on Thursday | Pti Modi’s nationalism pitch to attack Didi PM recalls Mamata’s critical take after 2019 Pulwama attack and Balakot counterattack, slams her for calling Batla shootout fake P r a n a b M o n d a l @ Kolkata The Trinamool has created a new breed of Maoists in Bengal who loot public money. The money is meant for poor people. Didi’s government has patronised Maoist violence Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Won’t let NPR happen, says Mamata Kolkata: Asserting the Trinamool would never allow the enumeration of the National Population Register in Bengal, Mamata said, “The BJP will omit names of voters if they are not found at home during the visit of enumerators. But we will not allow them to do the exercise in West Bengal.” Rahul to meet Assam students today New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will interact with college students and tea estate workers as part of his poll campaign in Assam on Friday. The Congress leader will be on a day-long tour to the poll-bound state and also address a public meeting in Town Field in Doom Dooma in the district of Tinsukia, where he is expected to interact with labourers from tea plantations Reviving the BJP’s nationalism plank, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cited the Pulwama terror attack in J&K and the subsequent airstrike deep inside Pakistan’s Balakot to put West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the back foot for criticising the Army earlier. Modi also recalled Mamata pitching the Batla House shootout in 2008 as a fake encounter, a narrative that was negated by a Delhi court convicting a terrorist and awarding capital punishment recently . “People of Bengal have not forgotten who you stood with after the Pulwama attack and criticised the Army No . one has forgotten how Didi and a few other parties reacted when the Batla House encounter took place. These people stood with the terrorists at that time and raised questions on the encounter. A court recently convicted one of the terrorists and sentenced him to capital punishment,’’ said Modi, while addressing a rally in Junglemahal’s Purulia district. Turning to the alleged extortion and cut money issues that have smeared the reputation of the ruling Trinamool Congress, Modi said, “BJP believes in DBT, which stands for direct bank transfer, whereas Didi believes in TMC, which is transfer my commission. TMC’s days are numbered in Bengal.” Referring to the foot injury Mamata sustained in Nandigram, the PM said, “Like millions of other women, for me, Didi is also a daughter of the nation. When she got injured, I was worried. I pray for her speedy recovery .” Referring to the khela hobe (there will be a game) one-liner Mamata is making at every public rally Modi , said, “Didi bole khela hobe, BJP bole chaakri hobe. Didi bole khela hobe, BJP bole shiksha hobe. Didi bole khela hobe, BJP bole vikas hobe. Khela sesh hobe, vikas aarambh hobe (Didi says there will be a game. BJP says, there will be employment, education, development and education. The game will over over and development will begin.” Modi also accused Mamata of encouraging West Bengal’s Maoists, who have waged war against the country for her po, litical gain. Castigating her for playing the politics of religion, Modi said, “After politics of appeasement in Bengal, suddenly there seems to be a change in Didi. This is fear of defeat.” p7 Maharashtra on Thursday recorded 25,833 new Covid-19 cases, marking the highest single-day spike since September last when the official figure was 24,896. With the caseload mounting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to ramp up testing, especially RTPCR testing, and expedite containment measures. While the cases have increased in the state, the mortality rate at 2.2% is lower than last year’s, a senior official said. “Of the total cases reported, a majority are asymptomatic. Further, the cases are coming out in clusters unlike last year when individual cases led to the spurt,” the official said. State capital Mumbai, too, registered the highest-ever oneday spike of 2,877 new cases, taking the overall tally in the city to 3,52,835, according to civic officials. This is the third time when single-day cases in the city have surpassed the 2,800-mark. The last time Mumbai saw the highest 24-surge was on October 7, when it reported 2,848 new cases. With a view to shoring up the vaccination drive, state health minister Rajesh Tope urged the Centre to deliver more doses. At a time when the numbers are rising, there is a shortage of vaccines, Tope claimed. He said the state had asked for 2.20 crore vaccine doses to vaccinate 1.70 lakh people in the co-morbid and senior citizen categories. However, the central government has provided only 56 lakh vaccines out of which 36 lakh doses have already been used. “Lockdown is not the answer to the present situation. alarming rise in Delhi, figure crosses 600 Delhi’s Covid-19 graph keeps heading north. On Thursday, the number of positive tests crossed the 600 mark. At 607, this was the highest number of cases in the national capital in the last two-and-a-half months. There was one new casualty | p4 setback Current ticket slab Distance Non- AC AC 0-4 km I5 I10 4-10 km I10 I15 (4-8 km) 10 km & above I15 I20 (8-12 km) 12 km & above NA I25 No of buses in Delhi (DTC and Cluster): 6,693 delhi Government plans one fixed fare for all bus trips gayat h r i m a n i @ New Delhi To make the ticketing system simpler for commuters, the Delhi government plans to do away with ticketing slabs and introduce one fixed slab/fare for all trips from short to long journeys across the capital. There are currently four ticket slabs in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses, including in AC buses, and the fares range from `5 to `15 in non-AC and from `10 to `25 in AC buses. Under the proposal, Arvind Kejriwal’s government plans to fix fares for all trips — short or long. “At present, a commuter buys a differently-fared ticket based on the distance he or she travels. The government plans one ticket for travelling to any place in Delhi,” said a source. “The government is brainstorming on this proposal. The transport department also held a meeting with DTC officials in this regard,” informed the source. “The aim is to provide a hassle-free travelling experience and ease the ticketing system. The fixed fare for an all-round trip is yet to be decided. There is no deadline right now to implement the plan. The state cabinet will have to endorse the plan before it is implemented,” said the source, who did not wish to go on record. There are currently three ticket slabs in non-AC buses, with the starting fare being `5. There are four slabs in AC buses beginning at `10. The total ridership in DTC and cluster buses was 28 lakh before the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown. Ridership dropped last year due to social distancing and limited seating following the pandemic outbreak. Buses have started plying again, with restrictions. express read Time for India, Pakistan to bury past and move forward: General Bajwa Sitharaman says fugitive trio on way back to India to face law of the land Islamabad: Pakistan’s Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday it was time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward”. Addressing the first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue, Gen Bajwa said the potential for regional peace always remained hostage to the disputes and issues between Pakistan and India. New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that fugitive businessmen Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are coming back to India to face the law. The government is persuing extradition of Mallya and Modi from the UK. Choksi is believed to be in Antigua & Barbuda. “One by one, they are coming back,” said Nirmala. Pressure to take back Mehta as ex-CEA exits univ E x p r ess Ne ws S e r v i c e @ New Delhi jab job more for india than others Health ministry says 75 mn doses sent to states, 59 mn to other countries | P8 The faculty and students at the Ashoka University issued strong statements in support of political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta, who resigned from the university two days ago citing infringement on academic freedom, and demanded that the institution ask him to join back. A day after Mehta’s exit, noted economist and former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian put in his papers, ruing that the institution “even with its private status and private capital, can no longer provide space for academic expression and freedom”. Mehta, who quit as the university’s vice-chancellor two years ago, in an email to his students on Wednesday evening — a day after he resigned — had hinted that a discussion with the university regarding the “prevailing circumstances” led to his exit. “The decision to leave Ashoka was not an easy one, especially because of the exceptional quality of students I have been privileged to teach,” he wrote. “But after discussions with the university about the prevailing circumstances, it became clear to me that it was best to move on. Hence, I took the decision to resign.” The faculty of the university , Rapid and massive vaccination drives must be undertaken. We need 10-day advance stocks or else the vaccine centres will run out of shots soon,” the health minister said. Many places in Pune, Amaravati, Nashik, Navi Mumbai and Jalgaon opted for localised lockdowns, ordering schools, colleges, hotel and restaurants to shut down. Meanwhile, after reporting 2,039 fresh cases and 35 fatalities on Wednesday, the Punjab government on Thursday announced a two-hour extension in night curfew in the state’s nine worst-affected districts. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered to stop movement of passenger buses to and from Maharashtra from P8 March 20. in a letter to Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar on Thursday said, “it is not only an occasion for sorrow over the departure of a deeply respected and admired colleague, it also raises urgent questions about the university’s commitment to academic freedom.” It is plausible that Mehta’s resignation was a consequence of his role as a government critic, the faculty said. Continued on Page 8 ‘Troubling he felt compelled to leave’ “That someone of such integrity and eminence, who embodied the vision underlying Ashoka, felt compelled to leave is troubling,” Arvind Subramanian said in his resignation letter to Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar Future tense as Delhi HC judge validates S’pore deal verdict B i s m a h M a l i k @ Bengaluru Debt-riddled Future Group led by its embattled founder Kishore Biyani suffered a setback after Delhi High Court upheld an emergency arbitration (EA) award delivered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre last year. The EA had put on hold a `24,713-crore deal between Reliance and Future Group. Delivering verdict on an appeal filed by e-commerce giant Amazon, Justice J R Midha on Thursday issued a show-cause notice to Biyani and other FRL promoters, asking them why they shouldn’t be in prison for violating the EA order. Ordering the attachment of their assets, HC directed them to furnish asset details. Maintaining that the EA order was enforceable under Section 17(2) of the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Justice Midha criticised Biyani and other promoters for wilful disobeying. While directing Biyani to appear in person for the next hearing in April, HC said that Singapore’s emergency arbitrator had rightly invoked the group of company doctrine and restrained Future Group from selling its assets to Reliance. Biyani and FRL have been told to stop further action in seeking regulatory approval to the RIL-FRL deal and bring on record all actions taken for furtherance of the deal after the EA order was passed in October. FRL had approached NCLAT to get the deal with RIL cleared to save its retail, warehousing and logistics businesses, reeling under a debt of `13,000 crore. Amazon, which owns 49% stake in FRL’s promoter entity Future Coupons, argued that Biyani had violated a contract, restraining them from entering into any shareholding arrangement with rival companies, including Reliance. Judicial sensitivity SC slaps high court on the wrist over rakhi-for-bail order K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi Terming the Madhya Pradesh High Court order last year that had asked a man accused of sexual assault to have a rakhi tied by the victim to get bail, as a judicial stereotype, the Supreme Court on Thursday set it aside and issued a slew of guidelines on gender sensitivity in judicial approach. A bench comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and S Ravindra Bhatt said, “Judges play — at all levels — a vital role as teachers and thought leaders. It is their role to be impartial in words and action, at all times. If they falter, especially in gender related crimes, they imperil fairness and inflict great cruelty in the casual blindness to the despair of the survivors.” The judgment came on a plea filed by nine woman lawyers who had challenged the high court’s directive saying such bail orders have the effect of trivialising sexual offences. “Using rakhi tying as a condition for bail, transforms a molester into a brother, by a judicial mandate,” the judgment read. “This is wholly unacceptable, and has the effect of diluting and eroding the offence of sexual harassment. The act perpetrated on the survivor constitutes an offence in law, and is not a minor transgression that can be remedied by way of an apology, rendering community service, tying a rakhi or presenting a gift to the survivor, or even promising to marry her, as the case may be,” the 24-page judgment stated. The bench while issuing a set of directions to the trial courts and high courts, also stressed the need to include gender sensitisation in the curriculum as well training of judicial officers in National Judicial Academy on this subject. The syllabi and content of such courses shall be framed after due consultation with domain experts, preferably within three months, the verdict said adding that the use of language and appropriate words and phrases should be emphasized as part of this training. stereotype samples l Women are physically weak and need protection l Women are incapable of or cannot take decisions on their own l Men are head of the household and should take decisions on the family l Women should be submissive and obedient according to our culture l Good women are sexually chaste l Motherhood is duty and role of every woman; assumption that she wants to be a mother l Women should be the ones in charge of their children, their upbringing l Being alone at night or wearing certain clothes make women responsible for being attacked l A woman consuming alcohol, smoking, etc. may justify unwelcome advances by men l Women are emotional and often overreact or dramatise events, hence it is necessary to corroborate their testimony l Testimonial evidence provided by women who are sexually active may be suspected when assessing consent in sexual offence cases l Lack of evidence of physical harm in sexual offence case leads to an inference of consent by the woman
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