THURSDAY The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the Model Tenancy Act, which offers legal protection to both owners and tenants 03 JUNE, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard IN THE NEWS T O D AY INDIA No vax in Mumbai Due to shortage of doses, the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Mumbai will be suspended on Thursday at centres run by the civic body and state government, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said on Wednesday. Of the 342 vaccination centres in Mumbai, 243 are managed by BMC and 20 by the state government. BMC said vaccines are expected on Thursday. Inoculation will resume a day later. Ex-IAS arrest on hold The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday asked the Unnao police not to arrest former IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh for the time being in the criminal case lodged over his tweets on dead bodies floating in the Ganga. The court’s Lucknow bench gave relief to the retired officer on his plea challenging the registration of the FIR against him over his tweets. While staying the arrest, the bench also sought the state government’s stand on Singh’s plea for quashing the FIR. RSS review meeting Preparations for another Covid wave, post-poll violence in West Bengal and prevailing situation in the country are the issues expected to be discussed in a three-day get together of top RSS functionaries starting from Thursday. It will be chaired by RSS head Mohan Bhagwat. The meeting assumes importance as it is being held days after RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale met Sangh workers from Uttar Pradesh earlier this week. WRITTEN RENTAL AGREEMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED TO DISTRICT ‘RENT AUTHORITY’ A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI J8.00 States can adapt it by amending laws STRONG SC DOSE TO CENTRE Calls vax policy prima facie arbitrary; seeks details on its evolution, including file notings K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi TERMING the Centre’s vaccination policy as prima facie arbitrary and irrational, the Supreme Court in its written order sought all details on its formulation. The court directed the Centre to place on record all relevant documents and file not- ings reflecting its thinking while evolving the policy, and the purchase history of Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V so far. It also asked all states and Union Territories to specify their stand on providing free jabs. It saw a policy skew in allowing free vaccination for the vulnerable groups — those above 60 and the 45-plus with comorbidities — while enforcing a paid system for the rest. The order was part of the detailed hearing of Monday which was made avail, able on Wednesday . Countering the Centre’s pitch not to interfere in policy matters, particularly as the pandem- SHARP OBSERVATIONS BY APPEARS IRRATIONAL Due to the importance of vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group, the policy for facilitating free vaccination for vulnerable groups under the first two phases, and replacing it with paid vaccination by state/UT governments and private hospitals for the 18-44 age group is, prima facie arbitrary and irrational. Under the liberalised vaccine policy that came into effect on May 1, the Centre is paying for the vaccines of the 60+ and people above the age of 45 with comorbidities. For the rest, the states can buy up to 50% of their vaccine requirements from manufacturers but they are paying a much higher price than the Centre. Private hospitals are paying even more. ADDRESSING THE URBAN, RURAL DIGITAL DIVIDE The court asked the Centre to provide data on the percentage of population that has been vaccinated with one or ic situation was dynamic, the bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud said it does not intend to second-guess the wisdom of the Executive, but will determine “if the chosen policy conforms to the standards of reasonableness, militates against manifest arbitrariness and protects the right to life of all persons”. THREE-MEMBER BENCH both doses, as against eligible persons in the first three phases of the vaccination drive. The data should include percentage of rural and urban population so far vaccinated. VACCINE PRODUCTION RAMP-UP DOABLE? While the Centre is confident of vaccinating everyone in the targeted age group by this December-end, the court sought full details as to how production of such high volume will be achieved. It also asked for an outline on how and when the Centre expects to vaccinate the remaining population. PRICING, DATES OF PROCUREMENT Regarding the pricing of vaccines, the bench asked the Centre to submit a cost comparison of the shots available in India as against their international price. “If `35,000 crore has been allocated for vaccine, why it cannot be used for vac- cinating the 18-44 age group?” the court questioned and directed the Centre to produce the entire file on its vaccine purchase history till date. It also sought the dates of procurement orders of all vaccines — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V — the number of doses ordered and the projected date of supply . CAN’T BE SILENT SPECTATORS The Indian Constitution does not envisage courts to be silent spectators when constitutional rights of citizens are infringed by executive policies. Judicial review and soliciting constitutional justification for policies formulated by the Executive is an essential function, which the courts are entrusted to perform, the bench observed. It said across the globe, the Executive has been given a wider margin in enacting measures, which ordinarily may have violated the liberty of individuals, but are now inP7 cumbent to curb the pandemic. KASHMIR NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths BJP leader shot dead by militants in Pulwama JUNE 1 JUNE 2 1,27,510 1,32,788 2,55,287 2,31,456 2,795 3.207 June 1 TAKE 22,08,941 doses YOUR June 2 SHOT 22,45,112 doses TOTAL DOSES: 22,08,62,449 JAB-O-METER DELHI Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths FAYA Z WA N I @ Srinagar UNIDENTIFIED militants shot dead a BJP leader in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. A woman was injured in the firing on Wednesday evening. A police official said militants fired from point blank range at BJP leader Rakesh Pandita. A Kashmiri Pandit, he was a councilor of Tral Municipal Committee. Pandita sustained multiple bullet injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The woman injured is said to be the daughter of Pandita’s friend. She was in hospital. Police and CRPF personnel r ushed to the spot and launched a search operation. It was going on till late in the evening. A police official said preliminary investigation revealed that three militants were involved. Their identity was still not clear. Pandita, according to a police spokesman, was provided two personal security officers and secured accommodation in Srinagar. The spokesman added Pandita had gone to Tral without taking the security officers with him. BJP spokesman Manzoor Bhat said Pandita was visiting relatives after a death in the family “We strongly con. demn the militant attack,” he said and urged police to identify and punish the militants. Bhat said the attack reflects the frustration of militants and that BJP won’t be cowed down by attacks. Former J&K Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the killing of the BJP leader. “Shocked to hear that BJP leader Rakesh Pandita has been shot dead by militants. These senseless acts of violence have brought only misery to J&K. My condolences to the family & may his soul rest in peace,” she tweeted. PAGES 12 DOWN TO THE WIRE Search and rescue operations underway at the coal mine where five miners are trapped in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills on Wednesday. The miners were trapped after a dynamite blast flooded the pit on Sunday evening | PTI Shadow over Centre’s 55 cr vaccine target S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi THE Centre’s ambitious target of having 55 crore doses of Covaxin by December appears hard to achieve as Mumbai-based Haffkine Biopharma, one of the three companies Bharat Biotech has roped in to ramp up Covid vaccine manufacturing, will not be able to start production before February next year. The company is looking at a time line of eight months to roll out the first batch of Covaxin, said Sandeep Rathod, managing director of Haffkine BioPharma, a Maharashtra government undertaking. Sources told TMS that a formal MoU between Bharat Biotech and Haffkine is still in the process of being signed. Haffkine has received `64 crore grant from the Centre and `94 crore from the Maharashtra government for the vaccine production. According to a government release, production will take place at the Parel complex of the company, where a biosafety level 3 lab will be set up with a capacity to produce 22.8 crore doses of Covaxin. The two other firms that Bharat Biotech has signed pacts with are BIBCOL and Indian Immunologicals. The vaccine production process involves two stages – drug substance and final drug product, Rathod explained. He said the company plans to produce two crore vaccine doses a month. He added that for production of drug substance the firm needs a sophisticated lab, while Haffkine already has the fill-finish facility . Bharat Biotech, which can produce two crore doses per month, has been able to supply only about 90 lakh doses of Covaxin in May and the same quantity is expected in June. CONTINUED ON P8 JUNE 1 JUNE 2 623 1,423 62 576 1,287 103 Under the Act, separate rent authorities, courts and tribunals will be set up in districts. House owners can seek a maximum two months’ rent as security deposit from tenants, while it is six months’ rent for commercial property. States and Union territories can adapt the Act by enacting fresh legislation or amending their existing rental laws suitably Will unlock over 1 cr vacant houses Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said there are ‘1.1 crore vacant houses available for rent in the country, according to the Census 2011 The Act is expected to encourage owners to rent out their property without the fear that tenants won’t vacate it later | P10 BIG MOVE TO MONETISE RENTAL HOUSING MARKET E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Union government on Wednesday approved the Model Tenancy Act (MTA), which will overhaul the legal framework governing the renting of houses across the country . Officials said that MTA would balance the rights and interests of both the landlord and the tenant. It would avoid disputes by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the two. The MTA aims to open up more than one crore houses lying vacant for rental purposes. Making the 1.1 crore vacant houses available for rent will complement the vision of ‘Housing for All’ by 2022, said the Ministry of Housing. Asked about the reason behind such a large number of houses lying vacant, an official in the ministry said that most owners do not want to give their propertyon rent, fearing that tenants will not vacate it, and they will illegally occupy the property Under the act, un. less otherwise agreed in the tenancy agreement, the landlord will be responsible for structural repairs except those necessitated by damage caused by the tenant, whitewashing of walls and painting of doors and windows, changing and plumbing pipes when necessary and internal and external electrical wiring and related maintenance when necessary . On their part, the tenants will be responsible for drain cleaning, switches and socket repairs, kitchen fixtures repairs, replacement of glass panels in windows, doors and maintenance of gardens and open spaces, among others. Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the move will help overhaul the legal framework with respect to rental housing across the country During a press con. ference, Puri said that according to the Census 2011, more than 1 crore houses were lying vacant in urban areas across the country . “Discussed details of the landmark Act with members of the media fraternity The . Act has been approved by Uniuon Cabinet under the guidance of PM Modi,” the minister tweeted. Verdict seems like manual for rape victims: HC sends notice to Tejpal E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi THE Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to senior journalist Tarun Tejpal on the appeal filed by the Goa government against his recent acquittal in the 2013 rape case. The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court orally observed that the sessions court’s judgment acquitting journalist Tarun Tejpal was like a ‘manual for rape victims’ as it goes into how a victim should respond in such cases. The judge observed that there is a prima facie case made out against Tejpal in the appeal and asked for all records from the trial court to be sent to the high court and slated the hearing for June 24. In its appeal challenging the acquittal of Tejpal, the Goa government has said that it was a fit case for retrial, citing the trial court’s lack of understanding of a victim’s posttrauma behaviour and censuring of her character. The Goa government has said the trial court “considered the evidence given by defence witnesses as gospel truth, but at the same time discredited without any finding the evidence given by the victim and the prosecution witnesses”. It also claimed that the trial court completely ignored the most telling piece of evidence in the case (the apology e-mail) “which established the guilt of the accused beyond a shadow of doubt”. On May 21, sessions judge Kshama Joshi acquitted Tejpal in the case where he was accused of sexually assaulting his then woman colleague in a lift of a five-star hotel in Goa in November 2013 when they were attending an event. The trial court had questioned the woman’s conduct, noting she did not exhibit any kind of “normative behaviour” such as trauma and shock which a victim of sexual assault might plausibly show. Subsequently, the Goa government filed an appeal before the high Court calling for the setting aside of the acquittal order and seeking a retrial. HELPING OUT Retired Ch’garh official digs deep into savings to donate mini ventilator E JA Z K A I S E R @ Raipur “I have lived my life. What will I do by saving the pension now lying in the bank?” says Pusram Sinha. While most elderly people are especially vulnerable in these uncertain times, the 75-year-old retired government official donated a miniventilator to a hospital at Berla block in Chhattisgarh’s Bemetara district. Sinha withdrew `3.5 lakh from his savings for the pur- pose which, he claims, was being done in the memory of his humble parents. His father was a farmer. After joining as a teacher in the government middle school at Chanda in Rajnandgaon district in 1968, Sinha retired as assistant block education officer at Berla in 2006. His wife Pushpa is equally into social work. The Sinhas have no children. “There cannot be the better use of the pension if such sav- Pusram Sinha donated the equipment in memory of his late parents| EXPRESS ings can be of some assistance or support in saving life. So, I decided to purchase a mini-ventilator,” Sinha avers. The ventilator was promptly put into use for a patient at the hospital. Doctors appreciated Sinha’s gesture and conceded that there was always a high demand for such equipment for ICU patients and also for Covid cases where there is respiratory problem or oxygen saturation level below 90. “Sinhaji’s humanitarian con- tribution will always be remembered considering that the fight against the Covid outbreak continues,” says Shiv Tayal, Bemetara collector. As for the retired official, philanthropy doesn’t end there. Sinha has been distributing fruits and cooked vegetarian meals to the Covid patients in the hospitals and care centres. “I can get enough to sustain me and my wife. We keep ourselves engaged with community and social work.” says Sinha.
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