Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

In absence of rules, police start using blue beacons

Kashif Masood Kashif Masood
Written by Harsha Raj Gatty | Bangalore | Posted: February 12, 2014 6:55 am

The Karnataka government is yet to come up rules for use of beacons by public authorities in the wake of the Supreme Court (SC) ordering discretion in December 2013 but state police have replaced the red beacons on their cars with blue ones. 

Senior police officers said it was done after an internal agreement in the department.

“We are using the blue beacon following an understanding in the department. We will continue to use it until further orders,’’ a top police officer.

Regional Transport Office (RTO) officials, however, said vehicles escorting specific VIPs alone could use blue beacons without flashers. They said the government would have to issue a notification to legalise the use of blue beacons by police.

The use of blue beacons on vehicles other than escort cars and jeeps of specific VIPs was illegal and a drive would be started to remove the beacons and penalise users, an RTO official said.

“Central Motor Vehicles Act has a separate provision for law-and-order vehicles to use multi-coloured lights (red, blue, white),’’ commissioner for transport K Amaranarayana said.

RTO officials said 15 vehicles had been warned for misuse of beacons in the state so far following the SC order but none had been penalised.

“After our initial drive, rampant use of red beacons has been curbed in the city. We will continue to enforce the Supreme Court order,” joint commissioner for transport R V D’Souza said.

In a December 10, 2013, judgment, the apex court had rebuked states for broadening the definition of VIPs beyond the scope of Central Motor Vehicles Act. It gave states three months to change rules.

The Karnataka government is yet to issue a notification listing public officials who can use beacons.

The Supreme Court has said those holding constitutional posts — the president, prime minister, cabinet ministers, governors, Chief Justice of India, SC judges and leaders of the two Houses of Parliament — alone can use red beacons.

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