iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 15, 2013
The Supreme Court on Thursday dubbed the use of beacons by ministers and government officials “ridiculous and synonymous with power” and said they should be removed immediately. “Remove these red lights. Advise the Centre and state governments to do it. Let this be allowed only to the five constitutional heads, armed forces, police and for medical emergencies,” the court told additional solicitor general, Siddharth Luthra.

The advice came after senior counsel and petitioner’s advocate Harish Salve gave examples of how the provisions of providing security and use of beacons were being misused and coming in the way of right to equality of citizens.

“Security cover has become a symbol of power, its misused, running riot and playing havoc on the ordinary citizen,” the court observed.

A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice HL Gokhale also criticised the practice of blocking roads for VIP traffic movement.

Hinting at the possibility of striking down the notifications under which states have provided security to “high dignitaries”, the court sought details of expenses incurred on providing security to various categories of persons including persons with criminal background and family members of VIPs.

It also directed the states to file details of reviews undertaken of the security provided to public functionaries and private individuals.

The bench, however, clarified that it wasn’t questioning the security cover provided to the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Chief Justice of India and the respective state counterparts.