CHENNAI: The Centre’s move to do away with red beacons atop vehicles could result in almost 20 categories of dignitaries in Tamil Nadu foregoing their privilege of using it from May 1, when the new rule will kick in.
In Tamil Nadu, the privilege is currently available for the Governor, Chief Minister, Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Assembly Speaker, State ministers and judges of Madras High Court, after the State government amended the Central Motor Vehicles Rules in 1989.
The Centre’s move was welcomed by activists as well as non-governmental organisations. Founder of ChangeIndia, Paadam Narayanan, said: “In Tamil Nadu, most VIPs are misusing this privilege. Some even use the beacon while going for family functions. It is a welcome move. Though we have a Supreme Court order on this, many states didn’t follow it. At least now they should fall in line,” he added.
Nityanand Jayaraman, environmental activist and writer, said most VIPs use the beacon to bully the public as they construe it to be a symbol of power.
Sundar Rajan, an activist with NGO Poovulagin Nanbargal, said the beacon lights are alienating the so called VVIPs from their own electorate. Except for emergency services, it is not needed for any other vehicle, he said.
Jawaharlal Shanmugam, a social activist, said it was a positive sign. “No developed nation has this kind of culture. Under law, all citizens are equal,” he said.
Current Red Right
2. Chief Minister
3. Chief Justice of Madras High Court
4. Assembly Speaker
5. State ministers
6. Judges of Madras High court
7. Deputy Speaker of Assembly
8. Chief Secretary
9. Chairman and members of advisory board (NSA)
10. Chairman and members of state advisory board
11. Chairman of State Human Rights Commission
12. Chairman of Tamil Nadu State Minorities Commission
13. Chairman of Tamil Nadu State Backward Classes Commission
14. Chairman of State Law Commission
15. President of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
16. State Election Commissioner
17. Chairman of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission
19. Vice-Chairperson, State Planning Commission
20. Tamil Nadu State Cooperative Societies Election Commissioner