The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to do away with red beacons atop officials cars, announcing that only the Chief Justice of India would be allowed to use it. The decision comes into effect from May 1, 2017. “Red beacon to be removed from cars of PM and all ministers. It will be allowed only on emergency service vehicles from May 1 to end VIP culture,” Union Minister Gadkari told news agency PTI.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said: “A red light can be carried in vehicles of high dignitaries specified by the Central and State government. Now, neither in state or centre the government will be able to nominate any members to use the red beacon. There are no exceptions.” Fire brigade, ambulance services, police vehicles and other emergency services will be allowed to use the blue beacon, Jaitley added.
In effect, the ban applies to the prime minister, union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the High Court and Supreme Court.
The move comes weeks after the two chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab decided against the use of the red beacon or lal batti on their official cars.
In December 2013, a bench of Justices GS Singhvi and C Nagappan directed States to amend the Motor Vehicle Rules to restrict the use of the red beacon and impose an exemplary fine on those who misused it. The court order said only constitutional authorities would be allowed to use the red beacon.