5 December 2022

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Motor Vehicles

Union cabinet decides to prohibit the use of red beacon light


In a bid to curb VIP culture from country, Union Cabinet issued a Notification to ban use of red beacon by VIPs from May 1. However, President, Vice-President and Chief Justice of India are exempted from ban. Emergency service vehicles are also exempted, for example fire brigade, ambulance services, police vehicles and other emergency services will be allowed to use the blue beacon. Decision will come into force from May 1, 2017. Ban is applicable to prime minister, union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of High Court and Supreme Court. At present, Rule 108 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 allows the use of red beacons atop the vehicles of VVIPs, or dignitaries notified by State or Centre. Rule 108 (I) and 108 (II) of Motor Vehicles Act, which allow Central and State governments to permit red beacons for dignitaries, would be scrapped/deleted and amended rules will be notified.

Red beacons has been in use atop the vehicles of Politicians and civil servants so that, there can be no obstruction in completing their duty while travelling. But, there has been rampant misuse of red beacons by some officials as well as politicians, who tend to flaunt it as a status symbol. In order to prevent the misuse of red beacons, several provisions were introduced over the years restricting its use. Now, in a historic decision, Cabinet has banned it completely.

Recently, chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab decided to ban use of red beacon or lal batti on their official cars. Delhi, Chief Minister took the lead after coming in power that, no state minister or official would use red beacons. Supreme Court had called it "ridiculous and synonymous to power" back in 2013 and directed States to amend Motor Vehicle Rules to restrict the use of the red beacon and impose an exemplary fine on those who mis-used it. Further, Court said, only constitutional authorities would be allowed to use the red beacon. The government is of considered opinion that, beacons on vehicles are perceived as symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. From 1 May, Cars of dignitaries and top government officials will not be seen with red beacon. The decision of Central Government is a historic step towards encouraging healthy democratic values.