THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police and traffic officials are quite sceptical about the implementation of the new order from the Supreme Court banning the use of tinted glass on windows in vehicles. Even as the use of tinted windows was prohibited under the Motor Vehicle Rule, the agencies could not enforce the ban till now.
One of the main roadblocks to enforce the new order is that neither the police nor the Motor Vehicles Department has any device to measure whether tinted glass are above the prescribed percentage of visibilty.
“It’s an impractical law as we cannot measure whether the glass is 70 per cent transparent or not. Even though the law came into existence several years ago, no vehicle had been caught for using tinted glass. What we can do is to take action against all the vehicles. In such a case, the people will move court and it will delay the whole action,” a police officer said.
“The Supreme Court had directed the state governments to frame a law in this regard. Once we get directive from the state government and Home Department, we would take action. It is true that the ban already exists but we have not yet enforced,” K Padmakumar, Inspector General, Ernakulam Range, has said.
The Motor Vehicles Department said the action it has taken against such vehicles was not effective. “We had booked several erring vehicles but first we direct the owner to remove the film. If caught again, then we fine them `100. There is no provision for taking strict action against the violators, as in the case of drunken driving and not using helmet,” T J Thomas, Regional Transport Officer, said.
In a similar case that came up before the Kerala High Court against the ban in 1991, a petitioner had contended that the provisions contained in Rule 100 of Motor Vehicle Act violated the ‘right to privacy’ guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The travel in a motor vehicle necessarily postulates the enjoyment of right to privacy. In the course of such enjoyment, the petitioners have the right to use tinted glasses and sun control films on the windscreens and windows of the vehicles, and the prohibition imposed by the police officials amounted to interference in the enjoyment of such rights by the petitioners.
However, the High court had not interfered in the question raised by the petitioner. The use of tinted glasses assumed more relevance with progressively increased use of air-conditioners in automobiles.
Minimisation of the direct entry of sunlight is one of the pre-requisites of effective air conditioning. These arguments are hardly sufficient to plead for the right to privacy.
However, in view of the deficiency of facts, the court refrained from deciding whether the use of motor vehicles with tinted glasses involved the right to privacy in these cases.