Change laws to limit use of red beacon: SC to govt
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ASSERTING that existing motor vehicle laws made a particular section feel "special" as compared to "ordinary citizens", the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre and state governments to consider amending the laws to "drastically" limit the use of red beacon lights, completely ban the hooters and "substantially" increase the fine on violators.
In order to give "common man relief from use of read lights and hooters" and to ensure that "people's right to free movement was not hindered", a Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi gave an opportunity to Centre and states to have necessary amendments in the Motor Vehicle Act and corresponding rules to curb the menace of indiscriminate use of red beacons.
It asked for ensuring prohibition on use of sirens or hooters except on police, ambulance, fire-fighters, Army and others permitted vehicles under the relevant rules. The Bench questioned hooters atop the vehicles carrying judges and said: "If a user is not permitted to use it, he is not. The matter ends there." It also objected to beacons for Lokayuktas, noting its office was statutory and not constitutional till the time Lokayukta Bill is passed and the Constitution is amended.
Advocating an "exemplary fine" on violators of laws, the Bench opined that the problem of law and order and inconvenience to public would be substantially reduced if governments decided to cut down on the number of persons to be given red beacons.
"Concerned legislative bodies have not thought it proper to bring necessary amendments in conformity with the acceptance of people of republic and a small section of people consider themselves as special against ordinary citizens. This appears to be the primary reasons that government issued notification authorising use of beacon over their vehicles," observed the Bench.
The Bench said it was "imperative" to change the notifications to limit the use of red beacons by dignitaries and rule it out completely when they were off-duty. It also clarified that any high court order on red lights and hooters will not come in the way of states' endeavour to change the relevant provisions.
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