Government bans red beacons (lal batti) for VIPs from May 1

  • In anticipation of ending the VIP culture, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to do away with red beacons or ‘lal batti’ on the officials’ cars including cars of the President, the Prime Minister and chief ministers from May 1, 2017. Only the Chief Justice of India would be allowed to use it as well as emergency vehicles, like ambulances and fire brigade.

    In light of the decision, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in law. The ban applies to the prime minister, union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the High Court and Supreme Court.

    At a press conference in Delhi, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said: “A red light can be carried in vehicles of high dignitaries specified by the Central and State government. Now, neither in state nor center the government will be able to nominate any members to use the red beacon. There are no exceptions.” The matter was under consideration for some time and "the Prime Minister took the decision and informed the Cabinet," Jaitley said.
    The vehicles with beacon lights, which are seen as a symbol of VIP culture, "have no place in a democratic country", the government said. A rule that empowers the Centre or state governments to allow use of red beacon lights to dignitaries will be deleted from the statute books.

    Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari was the first Union Minister who took the red beacon off his official vehicle immediately after the Cabinet meeting. The decision comes weeks after the two chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab decided against the use of the red beacon on their official cars.
    In 2013, a bench of Justices GS Singhvi and C Nagappan directed States to amend the Motor Vehicle Rules to restrict the use of the red beacon and impose an exemplary fine on those who misused it. The court order said only constitutional authorities would be allowed to use the red beacon.

    Visit the Indian Kanoon section of LawRato to learn more on Indian Laws.

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