The Himachal Pradesh government might not be able to meet the March-10 deadline set by the Supreme Court to frame new rules for the use of red beacons and flashers atop vehicles, a privilege being grossly misused to flaunt the VIP status.
In its December-10 judgment last year, the Supreme Court had asked the central and state governments to limit the use of flashers and red beacons. In the wake of the judgment the state government had set the ball rolling to frame new rules in accordance with the apex courts directions.
The state government had framed new rules that were recently put up before the state cabinet for its consideration. However, the cabinet asked the department of home to the study the rules being framed by other states. “We had put up the new rules for using flashers and red beacons before the cabinet but it asked us to study the rules being framed by other states,” a senior official in the home department confirmed to Hindustan Times. “We may not be able to meet the deadline set by the apex court,” he added.
In its orders, the Supreme Court had 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.
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.
The state's home department had framed rules in accordance with the apex court's directions that do not even entitle the legislators, deputy commissioners and principal secretaries to use red beacons atop their vehicles.
The new rules, denying the use of red beacons to legislators, have apparently made the government apprehensive as a result it has now decided to study the rules being framed by other state governments. The state government is also waiting for the Supreme Court's decision on a writ petition filed by the Centre that had sought clarification on the then constitutional authorities.
After the Supreme Court orders, about a dozen police officers had voluntarily removed red beacons and flashers from their vehicles.
Inspired by Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha, Prem Kumar Dhumal, the BJP legislators removed red beacons from their vehicles. But that is not the case with the ruling Congress, as not only legislators but the chairmen and vice-chairmen of various boards and corporations are giving two hoots to the norms and unlawfully using red beacons atop their official and private vehicles.
The violations do not stop here only as many of the vice-chairmen are using the vehicles with triangular plates bearing national emblem to flaunt their VIP status.