Misuse of red beacons on vehicles is now a criminal offence,and one could now end up in jail for a maximum period of three years for it.
In a stringent order,the Calcutta High Court on Friday ruled that police can initiate criminal proceedings against any person under sections 420 (cheating) and 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for misuse of beacons on vehicles. The provisions entail a maximum of three years in jail,though the offence is bailable.
Till now,police used to initiate proceedings under the Motor Vehicles Act against the violators which would entail a minimum penalty of Rs 100.
Observing that a number of cases of misuse of red beacons were before the High Court,the Division Bench of Justice Ashim Kumar Roy and Justice M P Shrivastava passed the order to prevent the misuse with application of a strict section of the law as the penalty of a mere Rs 100 was not proving to be a deterrent.
The High Court also said that no sanction from the state government would be required for the police if any government official or VIP misused the beacons.
It is to be noted that the MPs are not entitled to use the red beacons on their cars .
The bench also directed that advertisements in newspapers be given stating positions entitled for use of red beacons or flashers on vehicles.
Few months ago,while hearing an anticipatory bail plea,the High Court had directed the police to take proper steps to stop the misuse of red beacons.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Surajit Kar Purakashthya refused to comment on the High Courts order but said the police would follow it.