iconimg Monday, August 31, 2015

Moushumi Das Gupta , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 25, 2013
A road ministry proposal to trim the list of VIPs entitled to flash red beacons on their vehicles has not found favour with the home ministry. In a move to restrict the list, the road ministry has suggested only dignitaries specifically notified be allowed to use the beacon, and not those equivalent to them in rank.

For instance, it is not only the 32 cabinet ministers who are allowed to use beacons but nearly a dozen others who have been accorded the rank and status of a cabinet minister also enjoy the privilege.

“Removing the second category would automatically reduce the list by half,” said a government official.

However, the home ministry has not agreed to the proposal on the ground that it would compromise the security of dignitaries. The issue came up for discussion at the Committee of Secretaries meeting chaired by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth.

Comprising senior bureaucrats from home, law and road ministries, the meeting remained inconclusive because of differing views on the issue.

Sources said a final decision will have to be taken as soon as the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to frame its policy on the use of red beacons by August 5, when the case comes up for hearing again.

The apex court had on April 4 advised the Centre and the states to amend the motor vehicles act to “drastically” trim the list of people who can use beacons.