Taking a bold step ahead, the government of India has banned dignitaries and top government officials from using red beacons on their vehicles from May 1. The ban will be applicable to everybody, including the president, prime minister as well the chief justice of India. In order to address the widespread use of red beacons in the country, the Supreme Court had first raised this issue and asked for restrictions in December 2013. Currently, only dignitaries specified by central and state government are allowed to use them. But this will now change.
In order to ensure that the ban is effectively enforced from May 1, the government will have to amend rule 108 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, which allowed central as well as state government to decide as to who will be allowed to use the red beacons. Dating back to the colonial era when the British first introduced it, the red beacon on the vehicle has been misused by local officials to puff off their importance on numerous instances. Initially, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had proposed limiting the privilege to five constitutional authorities — the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, and Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The proposal was, however, not approved.
Moving forward, rules for the blue beacons usage on the vehicles such as ambulances, fire tenders and police cars will also undergo amendments that regulate its use in cases of an emergency. Decisions regarding the same will be notified in the coming days. Political parties as well the Ministry of Road Transport have welcomed the government’s initiative to help in India’s growth plans.