A recent Supreme Court directive against the indiscriminate use of red and amber beacons by politicians and bureaucrats has spurred the state government into curtailing the list of people who are permitted to install them atop their vehicles.
The state is also going to review the rules and plans to frame a new policy governing their use as the SC has expressed unhappiness over the current norms. To this end, the government has called a special meeting of department heads next week. “The meeting will be conducted by the chief secretary,” said SK Sharma, state transport secretary.
While hearing a special leave petition by Abhay Singh against the Uttar Pradesh government and others, the SC on April 4 last year had directed the Union and state governments to restrict the use of beacons to the heads of the executive, legislature and the judiciary, and banned the use of sirens, except by the police, ambulances, firefighters and the Army.
A senior official from Mantralaya said along with the policy on beacons and sirens, the state is also going to lay down criteria for permitting VIPs and others to use black films on the windows of their vehicles, since in its absence it fears it may be flooded with requests to make exceptions. Industrialist Mukesh Ambani and 17 others have already applied to the committee formed to allow people to use black films.
While hearing a PIL by Avishek Goyanka against the Centre on April 27 last year, the SC ordered the removal of black films or any other material on the windscreen and windows of cars.
According to transport department sources, many politicians are using beacons even though they are not entitled. They are even being used atop private vehicles, sources said.
What is encouraging their misuse is perhaps the meagre fine of Rs100 which is currently levied under the Motor Vehicle Act. Therefore, the state is also going to consider introducing a heavy penalty for their misuse.