The Indian Express | 2 months ago | 28-03-2023 | 12:45 pm
He has been on the death row for about 25 years, after being arrested for murder and sent to Pune’s Yerawada jail. During all those years behind bars, this primary school dropout taught himself Marathi and English, and obtained an MA in Sociology. But for the Supreme Court, what really mattered when setting Niranaram Chaudhary free on Monday was a date from the admissions register of a school in Rajasthan’s Bikaner.The register, from Rajkiya Adarsh Uch Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Jalabsar, showed that Chaudhary had dropped out of Class 3 on May 15, 1989.And so, the apex court ruled that he was a juvenile while being sentenced to death in 1998 with two others for the murder of five members of a family, including a pregnant woman and two children, in a “rarest of the rare” case.On Monday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice K M Joseph, directed that Chaudhary “be set free forthwith from the correctional home in which he remains imprisoned, as he has suffered imprisonment for more than 28 years” after his arrest in 1994.Chaudhary’s death sentence had earlier been confirmed by the Bombay High Court and twice by the Supreme Court in 2000. However, abandoned by his family at the time of conviction, Chaudhary’s name and age were incorrectly recorded by the Pune court that awarded him the death penalty. In 2018, with the intervention of Project 39A, a criminal reforms advocacy group based in National Law University, Delhi, Chaudhary moved the Supreme Court again.He also argued that his actual name was Niranaram, which was wrongly recorded by the court as “Narayan”.In January 2019, the Supreme Court had referred the case to the Principal District and Sessions Judge in Pune to decide on Chaudhary’s status as a juvenile at the time of conviction. The inquiry led to the school admissions register in Jalabsar.“Apart from the documents of the school, there is a family card, to which we have referred to earlier. The date of issue of Family Card is 1989 and, in this card, issued by the State Government, Nirana’s age is shown to be 12 years,” the Supreme Court said in its final verdict.“Going by that certificate, his age at the time of commission of offence was 12 years and 6 months. Thus, he was a child/ juvenile on the date of commission of offence for which he has been convicted, in terms of the provisions of the 2015 Act. This shall be deemed to be the true age of Niranaram, who was tried and convicted as Narayan,” the Supreme Court said.Anup Surendranath, director of Project 39A, told The Indian Express that Chaudhary is currently in a jail in Nagpur. “Once the Pune Sessions Court orders his release, the Nagpur prison will set him free,” he said.
Written by Kairvi PunjChandigarh Bhavan Vidyalaya concluded ‘Maitree 2023,’ a cyclothon meant to mark World Bicycle Day, on June 8, and was welcomed by their school chairman, principal and other staff membersThe cycling contingent of seventeen students and five teachers began the 1,300-km journey from Chandigarh to Kathmandu on May 27. They cycled through Haridwar, Kashipur, Sitarganj, Kapilvastu, Bharatpur, and other locations.The main objective of this Indo-Nepal Cyclothon was to foster India-Nepal ties.Themed ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ the cyclothon was flagged off by R K Saboo, Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Chandigarh Kendra. Siddhartha English Boarding Secondary School, Butwal, and Daffodil Boarding School, Kathmandu hosted the cycling contingent in Nepal. The students were also invited to interact with the staff of the Indian Embassy in Nepal.Greeting the participants on completion of the trip, Vineeta Arora, Director Education and Senior Principal, appreciated the young cyclists’ passion for taking on this journey.The Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, had organised this fifth expedition following their other successful ventures in the past. After the successful culmination of the Maitree 2023 Cyclothon, the students returned to the BVC campus.
Pune district is all set to get three new Automated Driving Test Track systems as part of the Motor Vehicle Department’s plan to introduce ADTTs in 17 locations across the state to ensure more transparency and accountability in issuing driving licences.The new systems will be installed at the main testing facility in Alandi with two tracks for two-wheelers and one for Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) on a 5,500-sq-m plot; Hadapsar with one track for two-wheelers and one for LMVs on a 4,000-sq-m plot; and, in Saswad with one track for two-wheelers and one for LMVs and Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) on a 14,031-sq-m area.Currently, there are two ADTT systems in the district, in Pune city and Pimpri Chinchwad, which were implemented on a pilot basis in March 2015 but solely for LMVs using eight-shaped tracks in a fully computerised system that has tested more than 3 lakh applicants so far.“The ADTT system will generate driving test results in real-time after completion of tests for each type of track. The system comprises video analytics cameras, workstations, servers and desktops to monitor the tests and record the results based on pre-defined test parameters,” an officer with the Regional Transport Office (RTO) said.The system will include smartphones placed inside vehicles for LMVs and HMVs, and cameras installed outside for two-wheelers, to track among other things facial recognition, use of seatbelts and mirrors, and navigation of traffic signals and zebra crossings. Besides, a Variable Messaging System (VMS) at the track’s exit will display whether the applicant has passed, failed or needs to take a re-test.Some of the key test formats are: eight-figure track, H-track, 3-point turn, zig-zag turns, gradient tests and two-wheeler serpentine tracks.Other than equipment to track driving skills, there will be eye-testing equipment, Aadhaar fingerprint verification devices, and a control room at each ADTT centre to operate and monitor the system.At present, driving tests are mainly conducted at about 50 Regional Transport Offices across the state with manual assessment of applicants.State Transport Commissioner Vivek Bhimanwar said, “The ADTT will remove the human element from driving tests. It will be faster and more accurate with no chance of manipulation. It will be completely based on cameras and a computer system.”Explaining the application system for ADTT, another official said, “The applicants have to book an appointment for driving tests through a system developed by the National Informatics Center (NIC) called Sarathi. The ADTT system will be integrated with Sarathi. The increase in the number of applicants over the years has placed considerable burden on motor vehicle inspectors. The manual evaluation also leads to allegations. Thus, the new technology based system will ease the service of issuing driving licences.”Besides, the official said that while there are multiple reasons behind road accidents, driving skills have been identified as a major contributing factor. “Therefore, drivers’ perceptual and motor skills remain a key factor in road safety. It is hence important to ensure that we only permit good drivers on the road by assessing them objectively and using the latest technologies,” the official said.Officials said the new system will also reduce the waiting time in the process of issuing driving licences while making the test stringent to improve awareness about traffic and driving rules as per the Central and State Motor Vehicle Rules.
OVER THE next year, two children from each district in India will be taken to the primary school in Vadnagar, in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi received his elementary education, as part of a week-long study tour.Announcing this on Tuesday, the government said the school will be developed as an “inspirational” school called ‘Prerna: The Vernacular School’, where the students will be trained on “how to live a very evolved life”, as part of a joint initiative by the central and state governments.The late 19th century school, which was functional till 2018, has been restored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as part of a mega redevelopment plan for Vadnagar, said officials.“There is a school in Vadnagar where our Prime Minister had taken his elementary education. It is a 19th century school… We are developing this school as an inspirational-experiential school,” said a senior official, adding that the school will get its first batch of students this year.Each batch will comprise 30 students who will be given residential training for a week. The cost of accommodation and transport will be borne by the culture ministry. “There are 750 districts in India and two children from each district (will be sent)… we will train a total of 1,500 children in the entire year on how to live a very evolved life…We want the first batch out in the current year itself,” said the senior official.The concept note for the project states: “Great leaders across the world have acknowledged their first school as a catalyst in their inspirational journey to cause change… Based on the vision of the Prime Minister, this first of its kind school redevelopment project ‘Prerna’ is being undertaken to inspire the youth of the county to become catalysts of change… It is envisioned to be a school of the future but with an impetus to education and values, imparted using various techniques and technologies.”While details like the age group of children are still being worked out, sources said it would mostly be for students of Classes 9-10.The selection process will start soon, for which the students’ “intellectual level, creativity and extra-curricular performance will be put to test,” said officials, adding that the training will be based on the concept of “Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat”. “It is not teaching. It is all experience,” said a senior official, adding that the training will include exposure to “virtues of life like courage and compassion through the lives and teachings of real-life heroes”.The school, originally called ‘Vadnagar Kumar Shala No 1’, was established in 1888 and was functional till 2018, when its restoration work began, said officials. “While it was being renovated, its students were shifted to the nearby kanya shala,” said a Gujarat education department official.“The old building has been restored using vernacular elements of architecture and by imagining the way the structure may have looked originally,” said a senior official, adding that the renovated school has eight classrooms, a cafe, orientation centre, souvenir shop and a community green space.Besides this, there is an extensive plan for “the overall development of Vadnagar town, funded by the Union government, and executed and overseen by the state government”, said officials. The plan to develop Vadnagar as the cultural centre of Gujarat includes a heritage site museum, being built at a cost of nearly Rs 200 crore.—With inputs from Ritu Sharma in Ahmedabad
New York City recorded an unusually high level of air pollution on Tuesday night, with its air quality index crossing 200 at one point.The poor air quality levels have continued today — as of Wednesday afternoon at 12 pm IST, it has a recorded Air Quality Index (AQI) of 173, with a PM2.5 concentration of 98.3µg/m³, which is 19.7 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value, reported air quality monitoring company IQair.The low quality of air was attributed to the ongoing wildfires in neighbouring Canada, where several provinces have been battling hundreds of fires for the past month. This smoke has been travelling across the border and has resulted in several air quality alerts from US authorities.New York City recorded the worst quality of air of any major metropolitan area Tuesday at 10 pm ET, said a CNN report, quoting data from IQair. New York City was only second to New Delhi in terms of levels of air pollution. Doha in Qatar, Baghdad in Iraq and Lahore in Pakistan were the other cities at the top of the list.As a result of the poor air quality, many schools in the city cancelled outdoor activities and events on Tuesday, said the report.The US Environmental Protection Agency had issued a poor air quality alert for New England, a day after parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota received a similar advisory. Last week, US officials as far south as Maryland, Baltimore, Virginia and Pennsylvania reported being impacted by the wildfires, said an Associated Press report.If you live in a place with high levels of air pollution, authorities suggest the use of facemasks when stepping outside. An air purifier can be used indoor and it is recommended that you spend a minimal amount of time outside for gardening, exercise or other purposes. Close windows, doors etc to minimise exposure to dirty air.
A Border Security Force (BSF) constable was killed amid heavy firing in Manipur’s Kakching in the early hours of Tuesday.According to a BSF spokesperson, constable Ranjit Yadav sustained bullet injuries after heavy firing by Kuki miscreants. He was taken to Jivan Hospital in Kakching, where he was declared dead.“On Tuesday, suspected Kuki miscreants resorted to indiscriminate and heavy volume of firing towards BSF troops deployed at Serou Practical High School in Sugnu. During exchange of fire between BSF troops and suspected kuki miscreants, Constable Yadav sustained bullet injury and was evacuated to Jivan Hospital, Kakching where he was declared dead,” the spokesperson said. The incident took place at 4.15 am.According to the Army, two Assam Rifles personnel were also injured, PTI reported.This comes amid a spate of violence in the state, which began on May 3 after a ‘tribal solidarity march’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.The Manipur government on Monday extended the internet ban for five more days citing continued incidents of “arson of houses and premises”. The Centre has announced a Commission of Inquiry, headed by former Gauhati High Court Chief Justice Ajai Lamba, to probe the Manipur violence