Much before the state could frame new rules to abide by the Supreme Court's decision limiting the use of red beacons, cops in Himachal Pradesh have willingly taken off the flashers from the official vehicles, thereby setting an example for many political leaders who unlawfully use them.
Inspector general of police (headquarter) AP Siddique was the one who took lead in taking off the red beacon from his official vehicle. As the word spread, other officers also took a cue from him and took off the read flashers atop their vehicles. "We are part of a law enforcing agency.
Since the Supreme Court has already directed to limit the use of red beacons, I thought I should shun them voluntarily," said a senior police official.
The Supreme Court orders directed that states and union territories could not enlarge the scope of high dignitaries beyond the prescribed notifications of January 2002 and July 2005 of the union government. Further, the court had asked the states to amend notifications to bring them in tune with the 1989 rules and notifications of January 2002 and July 2005 within three months.
Till now, more than half a dozen police officers have shunned the red beacons. Those who have done so include, inspector general of police (crime and security) Satwatnt Atwal Trivedi, IGP (law and order) SP Singh, IG (southern range) GD Bhargava, superintendent of police (security) Daljeet Thakur, and second IRB commandant Sakoh Diwakar Sharma.
Additional chief secretary (home) P Mitra, who is also officiating chief secretary, neither uses the red beacons nor the flag in his vehicle. Additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan is also said to have stopped putting red flasher atop his vehicle.
In the wake of the Supreme Court's December 10 judgment asking both the central and state governments to limit the use of flashers and red beacons, the state government has initiated framing rules in accordance with the apex courts directions, and has directed the transport department to frame new rules.
Red beacons and use of the triangular plates bearing national emblem mired into controversy after the home department received complaints that one of the chairman with a cabinet rank status used triangular plates in his official vehicle.
Despite repeated circulars to ministers by the department of general administration, chief parliamentary secretaries and chairmen of various boards and corporations, red beacons have been grossly misused even by those who were not even entitled to it. Many chairmen of district-level agriculture produce marketing committees have been using red beacons on their official vehicles.