Citizens' Issues
Salman jailed for five years for hit-and-run
Bollywood actor Salman Khan was on Wednesday sentenced to five years in jail for a 2002 hit-and-run accident that left one man dead and four others injured here.
 
Additional Sessions Judge D.W. Deshpande announced the verdict at a packed courtroom here, stunning the actor and his family.
 
Salman, one of the highest paid actors in Bollywood, was sentenced for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. 
 
Barely hours after he was sentenced to five years jail in the 2002 accident case, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was granted two days interim bail on medical grounds by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.
 
Rushing post-haste to secure bail, Salman's defence team led by Supreme Court counsel Harish Salve mentioned the matter before Justice A.M. Thipsay of the Bombay High Court.
 
Salve cited medical reasons for seeking bail and also argued that a person could not be arrested on the basis of a summarised court order.
 
He said they were awaiting a copy of the lower court order, after which Justice Thipsay said he was already out on bail and has not yet got a copy of the judgement and granted two days interim relief till May 8.
 
The hearing on the bail application will now be taken up on Friday morning.
 
The judge held Salman guilty of rash and negligent driving when he was at the wheels of the Land Cruiser that killed the poor victim in suburban Bandra in September 2002.
 
Defence lawyer Abha Singh said justice had finally been done.
 
"I am very happy," she told the media. "Justice has been done. The law has been upheld."
 
She said the long delay had given the impression that the rich could get away with murder in India, and that the moneyed were above the law. 
 
Earlier on Wednesday, the actor was found guilty on most of the charges levelled against him in the incident.
 
His lawyers had pleaded for a lighter sentence, citing the actor's social work as well as heart and other medical issues.
 
Salman is likely to be taken into police custody and sent to the Arthur Road Central Jail in south Mumbai.

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4 Reasons To Scrap Old Vehicles
Even though many overage motor vehicles are in good condition, they must be phased out
 
Consider this: Should vehicles over a particular age be scrapped? Should they be permitted to operate in urban areas already suffering from massive air pollution and allied issues like heavy traffic congestion and lack of parking space? This writer’s opinion is a resounding YES to the 1st question and NO to the 2nd; even though many over-age vehicles are in good condition. Here are some solid reasons why:
 
1. Pollution from automobiles is caused by many reasons; the top four are: faulty road engineering, bad fuel, terrible maintenance and obsolete vehicle technology. Since the first three are not likely to see much improvement soon, it is left to the fourth—technology evolution with vehicles of all sorts—to provide a higher-than-global-standards solution. In other words, vehicular technology in India is moving ahead so rapidly that anything over 10 years is not just passé but also chucking out a lot more from the tailpipe than just reasonably safe fumes.
 
2. A 10-year-old diesel vehicle, whether used heavily or not, has suffered extremely high wear & tear across a large number of moving parts. And diesel engines, by their very nature—being far more complex than petrol engines—are susceptible to far worse after-effects of this wear & tear. Apart from a very noticeable drop in power output, an older diesel vehicle—unless perfectly maintained—will also release a lot more by way of pollutants into the air. By some estimates, the drop in mileage as well as the increase in emissions, is to the tune of 30%. Put together, disaster.
 
3. As of now, there is no regulation on how often, or when, the catalytic converters in vehicles need to be replaced. There is some reason to believe that catalytic converters are removed from new motorcars by crooked mechanics just so that they can get to the expensive metals and alloys found inside which have a ready market for a variety of uses. Likewise, other safety features, like seat-belts and ABS, tend to degrade with age and replacing them may either be very difficult and expensive or close to impossible.
 
4. Within the Indian context, second-hand and other used vehicles tend to move into the private and illegal taxi business, where they are used in a variety of ways—almost all detrimental to the larger common good. Removing such vehicles by age from urban areas to smaller towns, where everybody knows who owns what, is a simple law-and-order solution, too, especially when old and overage private taxies in urban areas are amongst the heaviest polluters.
 
The protest from people stuck with overage vehicles is that they maintain them well and see no reason why they should have to sell them. I operate a 2004 Skoda diesel myself which is still in great shape. It will now go for scrap value. The solution is simple: buy new, smaller, modern vehicles. 
 

Come On, Karnataka!

The out-of-state vehicle issue has come to the fore again in Karnataka. Any vehicle, which spends more than a month (30 days) in Karnataka, for any reason, has to a pay lifetime road tax and, if planning to stay longer, also has to get re-registered. Apart from being a huge fiscal drain on the pockets, this also means that people pay lifetime tax for the same vehicle twice—and all this under the strength of a Motor Vehicles Act which is supposed to be all-India and under the Central government.
 
This is akin to paying income-tax twice because you work in one state and live in another. 
One can understand a period of one year, which is what the original Motor Vehicles Act envisaged, as the marker for deciding where a vehicle has to be registered. But only 30 days? Come on, Karnataka! Sometimes, people stay longer for tourism, medical treatment or simply because they are visiting family and friends. 
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)

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COMMENTS

Chandragupta Acharya

2 years ago

It is na├»ve to assume that everyone can afford a new vehicle. And even if one can, every rupee spent on a new car is a rupee NOT spent on something else (or invested). Just because you have given up on first three of the “top four” reasons for causing pollution from automobiles does not mean those who own old vehicles should be punished. A blanket ban on old vehicles is a violation of a fundamental right, because no such limitation existed when the buyer purchased the vehicle.

Anand Vaidya

2 years ago

There is NO government in Karnataka. Only a bunch of vested interests and lobbies. So is it any surprise that they need "more money" for dangerous schemes such as "shadi bhagya" "anna bhagya" etc?

Mukund Rajamannar

2 years ago

We seem to be ignoring the ROI in running a commercial truck. Breaking even takes a while. The profit after maintenance is low.

Private vehicles -- not everyone can afford a new vehicle with the inflated rates in India. Lets look at the tax component of a new car. If we are to move in the direction of the US economy with regard to vehicles, then lets match their tax rates on vehicles and their cash for clunkers (CARS) program.

Public transport is broken in cities. If we had efficient public transport, people will use them instead of driving inside the city.

This is a multifaceted problem and we are trying fixes that don't address the bigger issues. How many rapes did the ban on sun films stop? What was the impact on fuel and pollution due to that ban?

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