Supreme Court restricts the use of red beacon light on vehicles
The Supreme Court has banned the use of red beacon light with flashers on all vehicles except those used by high dignitaries holding constitutional post; also banned pressure horns, multiple sound emitting horns and musical horns in vehicles.
The court passed the order on a PIL filed by Uttar Pradesh resident Abhay Singh on misuse of red beacon.
Why the Supreme Court restricted the use of red beacons?
The apex court stated that the red lights represent power and create an arrant difference among those who are allowed to use it and the ones who are not. But a large number of those using vehicles with red lights have neither respect for the laws of the country, nor they treat the ordinary citizens with respect. Even criminals were getting away using red lights because the police were too “scared” to stop a car with a beacon. So, to avoid such practices, the court decided to restrict them.
As per the directions of Supreme Court:
- The term “high dignitaries” used in proviso (iii) to Rule 108(1) of the 1989 Rules takes within its fold the holders of various posts, positions and offices specified in the Constitution.
- The motor vehicles carrying “high dignitaries” specified by the Central Government and their counterparts specified by the State Government may be fitted with red lights but the red lights with or without flasher can be used only while the specified high dignitary is on duty and not otherwise.
- The State Governments and Administration of Union Territories cannot enlarge the scope of the term “high dignitaries” beyond what is prescribed in clauses ‘c’ and ‘d’ of Notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2005 issued by the Central Government. Therefore, they shall amend the relevant rules and notifications to bring them in tune with the 1989 Rules and notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2002 issued by the Central Government. This exercise must be completed within a period of three months.
- The men in uniform; operational agencies which require un-hindered access to the roads for performance of their duty; those engaged in emergency duties such as ambulance services, fire services, emergency maintenance etc, and police vehicles used as escorts or pilots or for law and order duties shall not be entitled to have red lights but lights of other colours, e.g., blue, white, multicoloured etc…
- No motor vehicles except those specified in Rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or similar provisions contained in the rules framed by the State Governments or the Administration of Union Territories shall be fitted with multi-toned horns giving a succession of different notes or with any other sound producing device giving an unduly harsh, shrill, loud or alarming noise.
- The police officers and other authorities entrusted with the task of enforcing the provisions of the 1988 Act and the Rules framed thereunder must discharge their duties without any fear or favour and should impose appropriate penalty on those who violate the prohibition contained in Rule 108(1) and Rule 119 and similar rules framed by the State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories. The owners/users of the vehicles fitted with multi- toned horns other than those allowed to use such horns under Rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or corresponding rules framed by the State Governments and the Administration of the Union Territories shall, within a period of one month from today, remove the multi toned horns. The officers authorised to enforce the provisions of the 1988 Act and the rules framed thereunder by the Central Government, the State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories shall also ensure that multi-toned horns are removed from all the vehicles except those specified in rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or corresponding rules framed by the State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories.
- The Chief Secretaries of all the States and the Administrators of Union Territories shall cause a notice published in the newspapers having wide circulation in their respective States and the Union Territories incorporating the directions contained in this order.
VIPs who can use Red beacons while on duty:
LIST A: (With Flasher)
President; Vice President; Prime Minister; ex-Presidents; ex-PMs; deputy PM; CJI and SC Judges; LS Speaker; Union Cabinet Ministers; plan panel deputy chairperson; leaders of opposition in LS and RS.
LIST B: (Without Flasher)
CEC; CAG; Union Mos & dy ministers; LS deputy speaker; RS dy chairman; plan panel members; AG; Cabinet secy; services chiefs & officiating chiefs of staff; heads of CAT, UPSC, minorities commission, SC & ST commission.