Should the list of dignitaries and officials allowed red beacons on their vehicles in India be trimmed? This issue will come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday.
On April 4, the apex court had given the Centre and the states time till August 5 to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to limit the use of red beacons on official vehicles. The court said it would be forced to pass an order if the Centre did not come up with a decision.
However, the inter-ministerial group entrusted with the framing of a policy on red beacons has failed to arrive at a consensus on the category of VIPs who should be denied the privilege.
Government sources said the Centre is likely to seek some more time from the apex court to frame the policy.
“Even the state governments, which were asked by the court to come up with their own policies, are not ready yet. Some state governments have approached the road ministry for advice on the matter,” said a government official.
The road transport ministry, which will implement the red beacon policy, wants to drastically prune the list of dignitaries entitled to travel in vehicles with red beacons. However, the home ministry wants to maintain the status quo.
The road ministry had suggested that only those dignitaries who are specifically notified should be allowed to use the beacon, and not those who are equivalent to them in rank.
The law ministry too is in favour of pruning the list of dignitaries allowed the red beacon.
At present, more than three dozen central government dignitaries are entitled to the red beacon while the number is double in nearly all states of India, as state governments come up with their own list of VIPs who are allowed this privilege.