The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre,the States and the Union Territories to amend the relevant provisions of Rule 108 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 and the corresponding rules in the states for restricting the use of red beacons in vehicles.
A Bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice Kurian Joseph said, “We give an opportunity to the Centre, all the states and the Union Territories to amend the relevant rules.” The Bench passed the order after amicus curiae Harish Salve said there is rampant misuse of red beacons all over the country.
According to the judges, the use of the beacon should be limited to the heads of the political executive, legislature, judiciary and the Constitutional heads. And the use of the siren should be restricted for police vehicles, ambulances, fire fighters, Army vehicles and others allowed under the rules. The Bench further said, “We also deem it proper that the governments substantially increase the fine for the violation of the relevant motor vehicle rules.”
Earlier, Salve told the Bench that one way to curb the practice of using the red light would be by imposing a deterrent fine.
The court observed that in other countries, the vehicle and the licence of the violators would be impounded. Justice Singhvi said the speed limit in London was 30 kmph and if it touched 35 kmph,the driver would be penalised. He pointed out that one of the ways to curb the illegal use of the red beacon was by limiting the number of persons legally permitted to use it. Another is by imposing an exemplary fine on the violators. The third is to confiscate the vehicle for a particular period.
ASG Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the NCT Delhi and Punjab, told the Bench that 352 vehicles were challaned for illegally using the red beacon in 2011, 111 in 2012 and 20 so far this year in the national capital. Further hearing will take place in the second week of July.