kottayam l saturday l September 30, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Twin suicide blasts in mosques kill 58 worshippers in Pakistan A powerful blast ripped through a Balochistan mosque, killing 54; hours later, 4 persons died in an explosion at a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa mosque Scores injured, some in critical condition The explosion at Balochistan occurred near Madina Mosque on Al Falah Road in the Mastung district when people had gathered in large numbers to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. The suicide bomber blew himself up as rallies from neighbourhood mosques converged at a meeting point. Scores were injured and a few are said to be in critical condition | P9 500 Roof of mosque collapses in 2nd attack ■ A second suicide attack by two men at a mosque hundreds of kms away in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province led to a roof collapse that killed four persons ■ No terror group operating in the region has taken responsibility for the twin attacks, though security officials suspect the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (the Pakistani Taliban) or the Islamic State group may be behind the explosions People had gathered in Mastung when the suicide bomber blew himself up CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Tinker not with consent age, amend POCSO Act: Law panel Suggests limited discretion on sentencing to spl court if there is tacit consent S h r u t i K a kk a r @ New Delhi The Law Commission of India on Friday advised the government to not to reduce the existing age of consent from 18 to 16 years under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, saying else it could provide a safe harbour to coerce minors into subjugation, marital rape and other forms of abuse, including trafficking. The Act criminalises all sexual activity for those under the age of 18 years regardless of mutual consent. To address the problem, the panel suggested giving limited discretion on sentencing to special courts in cases of mutual consent. Carving out a limited judicial discretion at the stage of sentencing by a special court is more reasonable if consent is established, the panel said. “It has to be further ensured that such a discretionary power is provided in such a manner that it is well guided and insulated from any potential misuse as far as possible. In this context, as to when such a discretion will come into play and who will determine if at all it applies, becomes relevant,” the Commission said in its Report No. 283 titled “Age of Consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.” Only a judicially trained mind can appropriately determine whether the consent was indeed free from coercion, deception, fraud or undue influence. This would require proper investigation and evidence being adduced so as to determine if any reduction in sentence is warranted, the report said. The panel headed by retired Karnataka high court chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said lowering the age of consent would reduce the POCSO Act to a paper law. “The consent of a child is no consent and reading the same would be deeply problematic... The very real possibility of young girls being easily seduced in love traps and then sold off in trafficking cannot and should not be ignored. Any element of consent can be misused and may lead to children being at the mercy of adult abusers,” it said. The report recommended amending provisions dealing with punishment for penetrative sexual assault and sexual assault under the POCSO Act (Section 4 and 8) by adding provisions empowering a special court to impose lesser sentence in cases of tacit consensual sex by taking into consideration related factors. Commission for calibrated eFIR rollout S h r u t i K a kk a r @ New Delhi The Law Commission of India on Friday recommended for putting in motion the process for registration of online FIRs (eFIRs) in a phased manner saying that clinging on to an archaic system of lodging FIRs does not augur well for criminal reforms. It suggested eFIRs for all cognisable offences where the accused is not known. In case the accused is known, it recommended permission for eFIRs for cognisable offences where the punishment is up to three years in jail. This would not only protect the accused from arrest but also mandate the police to adhere to the guidelines regarding arrest laid down in various SC rulings, the panel said. In case its suggestions are effective, the panel proposed that states can expand the list of offences for which eFIR may be registered. However, permitting eFIRs in all cases at present would cause high investigative burden on police, panel reasoned. welfare pension Nod for consortium of coop societies to provide `2k-cr loan K S S r e e j i t h @T’Puram As part of its efforts to break the impasse on timely distribution of welfare pensions, the state government has accorded sanction to form a consortium of primary cooperative societies (PCS) and other credit societies to mobilise funds to the tune of `2,000 crore for providing loan to Kerala Social S e c u r i t y Pe n s i o n L t d (KSSP). Loan to KSSP The government has asMadayi sured cooperative and credCooperative Rural it societies that it will stand Bank Ltd, Kannur, guarantee for the amount designated as fund borrowed. The credit sociemanager of the social ties include Primary agrisecurity pension cultural cooperative societies and employees Interest rate on cooperative societies. The loan fixed at 8.8% per annum on a government has also decidmonthly basis ed to designate Madayi Cooperative Rural Bank Ltd, Govt promises Kannur, as the fund manthat it will stand ager of the social security guarantee for the pension. The rate of interamount borrowed est on loan has been fixed at 8.8% per annum on a monthly basis. A government order in this regard was issued on Wednesday . The decision comes after the finance principal secretary requested the government to mobilise funds worth `2,000 crore. KSSP has been constituted under the provision of the Companies Act to ensure uninterrupted disbursal of social security ● More on P4 pension. express read Yellow alert issued for 10 districts T’Puram: A low pressure trough over the eastern Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal resulted in heavy rain across the state on Friday. No casualties were reported. Waterlogging affected over 100 hectares of paddy crop in Kuttanad, while widespread power disruption was reported. Floodwaters entered around 30 houses in Kochi city. The IMD issued yellow alerts for all districts, except Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam, on Saturday. P4 Bank scam: ED grills M K Kannan Kochi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the Karuvannur Bank case interrogated CPM state committee member and Kerala Bank vice-president M K Kannan for the second time on Friday. ED officials said Kannan’s interrogation could not be completed as he was physically down. Following this, it was decided to question him another day. P4
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.