The Supreme Court on Friday barred vehicle owners from using tinted glass restricting vision beyond the permissible limits fixed under the Motor Vehicles Act.
It, however, said government vehicles could have tinted glasses for security purposes and asked state governments to frame guidelines.
The court passed the order on a plea seeking a complete ban on the use of dark films on car windows, including vehicles used by VVIPs.
The petitioner, Avishek Goenka, claimed criminals were using cars with tinted glasses to commit heinous crimes.
"The home secretary, director general/commissioner of police of the respective states/Centre shall ensure compliance with this direction. The directions contained in this judgment shall become operative and enforceable with effect from 4th May, 2012," the bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia said.
Rejecting the plea to ban black films on VIP cars, the bench said: "...we do not wish to enter upon the arena of the security and safety measures when the police department and home ministry consider such exemption appropriate."
The court said those having Z and Z+ security category may be considered by a committee comprising state director generals of police, commissioners of police and home secretaries of the states.
It said it would be left to the committee to examine applications seeking permission to use black films as per the law.
"These certificates should be provided only in relation to official cars of VIPs/VVIPs, depending upon the category of security that such person has been awarded by the competent authority," the court added.
Under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, glasses of windscreen and rear windows of vehicles should have a visual light transmission of 70 per cent. For side windows, it should be at least 50 per cent.
Goenka submitted a list of replies to his RTI queries he received from police stations to support his claim. He said offenders were using tinted glasses to conceal their identities.