Amid growing clamour for red beacons among legislators, the Himachal Pradesh government has sought a legal opinion from its law department to facilitate them with beacons atop vehicles.
In wake of the Supreme Court decision limiting the use of red beacons, the transport department had issued a notification for the use of beacons atop vehicles. But the legislators in the state have resented the government's move of doing away with red beacons atop vehicles.
Unhappy with the government decision, some legislators had even decided to take a legal recourse. The matter related to red beacons was again placed before the cabinet, which recently met under the chairmanship of chief minister Virbhadra Singh. Indecisive, the cabinet asked the transport department to seek a legal opinion on the legislators' demand for the red beacon.
Cutting across the party lines, legislators have been constantly demanding red beacons to restore their status. Jawalamukhi MLA Sanjay Rattan who is spearheading the campaign for red beacon had even placed before the chief minister a notification issued by the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Haryana to provide beacons for their legislators.
The Haryana government has made a provision for amber beacons to its legislators, while the Madhya Pradesh government was contemplating to give red beacons. “If the chief secretary and director general of police (DGP) can be provided red beacons, why not such an arrangement can be made for legislators who are sworn in by the Constitution of the country,” Rattan said.
As legislators had to face routine police checks on different barriers, they had asked the Vidhan Sabha secretariat to issue special stickers to be pasted on the windscreens of their vehicles. Many of them had even designed their own stickers signifying their respective legislative constituencies.
Kullu legislator Maheshwar Singh said government should work out some arrangement for legislators regarding the red beacon. He said a legislator is a public servant and is sworn in by the Constitution of India. “Some of legislators have designed stickers for vehicles, displaying the designation and assembly segment,” he added.
Seraj legislator and former state BJP president Jairam Thakur said the Vidhan Sabha secretariat has issued sticker displaying the designation only. “This issue should be resolved and government should make provision for some kind of beacon atop vehicle if there is problem with the red one,” Jairam said.
The Supreme Court, in its December-10 judgment, had asked the central and state governments to limit the use of flashers and red beacons. Following the judgment, the state government had set the ball rolling to frame new rules in accordance with the SC directions.
Earlier also, the state government had framed new rules that were recently put up before the state cabinet for its consideration. However, the cabinet had asked the department of home to study the rules being framed by other states.
In its order, the Supreme Court had also directed that the states and union territories cannot enlarge the scope of high dignitaries beyond the prescribed notifications of January 2002 and July 2005 of the Centre.
However, the Shimla police last month cracked whip on persons using red beacons atop vehicle illegally. The police removed red beacons from nearly a dozen vehicles, including those of army officers. The police also sought a list of 'dignitaries' from the army who are eligible to use red beacon atop vehicle.