A letter purporting to be from the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways, exempting lawyers across the country from paying toll tax on highways is photoshopped and fake.
The letter was shared by various advocates in different languages on Facebook and WhatsApp. BOOM accessed messages and posts with claims in Hindi and Marathi through its WhatsApp helpline (+917700906111). The image has the letterhead of the private secretary and is addressed to Ravi Gowda, a lawyer from Bangalore, stating that the ministry had received his letter of December 1, 2019, and was thus exempting lawyers from paying toll tax on highways.
You can find the archived post here.
BOOM received the following message in Marathi.
This letter is photoshopped and is not the actual letter that the private secretary responded to.
It was R Baskaradoss, a lawyer from Chennai, who had written to the minister seeking permission for lawyers to be added to the list that had people exempted from paying toll tax on highways. He had stated that lawyers should be also allowed to travel without paying toll tax on producing their identity cards issued by the State Bar Council till the rule was amended He had written this letter on the November 13, 2019 following which the Indian Medical Association urged that doctors should also be exempted from paying toll tax on highways.
The secretary to the minister, Sanket Bhondve, responded to the letter on December 3 stating that the ministry had acknowledged receiving his letter. The letter further stated that the ministry was forwarding this letter to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the necessary action.
BOOM contacted Bhondve but he was not available for comment. BOOM also accessed the original letter that the private secretary wrote to R Baskaradoss. There is no mention of the lawyer Ravi Gowda in this letter.
The NHAI also tweeted refuting the claim that lawyers have been exempted from paying taxes.
NHAI clarifies that the user fee collection on National Highways is governed by NH fee rules. As per these rules, Advocates are not exempted from paying user fee (Toll) in NH Fee plazas. @MORTHIndia @MORTHRoadSafety @ihmcl_official— NHAI (@NHAISocialmedia) December 11, 2019
Currently, four different categories of vehicles are exempted from paying toll tax on the National Highways. Ambulances and funeral vans are the only non- government servant carrying vehicles that are exempted from the toll tax.
Updated On: 2019-12-13T17:50:49+05:30
Claim Review : Lawyers exempted from paying toll tax on national highways
Claimed By : Adv. Mangej Tanwar on social media
Fact Check : False