The decision by the government to ban the use of red beacons on vehicles not only ends the famous, 'lal batti' culture, but will also help prevent its misuse. The traffic cops in Delhi have struggled to control the menace of its misuse. Most cops do not risk stopping a vehicle with a red beacon as they fear that their jobs may be at stake in case they have stopped a vehicle belonging to a high and mighty.
If one looks at the statistics, it reads very poorly. Between 2011 and 2013, not a single case was registered in Delhi against people misusing the red beacon. In 2014 however there were ten cases booked and the following year there were 7 cases.
What the rules state:
- The Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules state that those found using an unauthorised coloured light on top of their vehicles can be penalised Rs 100 if it was their first offence. If the same offence is committed again, then the fine amount goes up to Rs 300.
- Emergency services such as ambulances, fire brigades and police patrol vehicles will be allowed to use blue beacons. Previously the rules as per 97(2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993 the following vehicles were permitted to use the blue light.
- Revolving-cum-flasher red light will be used only by motor vehicles on emergency duties such as ambulances, fire brigade, vehicles of Delhi Police Control Room, and such light shall be on top at the middle of the roof.
- Police Patrol Vehicles, Pilot Vehicles, Transport Department Vehicles can use for distinction a blue revolving cum-flasher light placed in front and on the top of the wind screen position.
- Amber revolving-or-flashing light can be used on vehicles plying at National or International Airports in the NCT of Delhi.
The notification by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:
- The red light with a flasher could be used by the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Former President, Deputy Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Cabinet Ministers of the Union, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Former Prime Ministers, Leaders of Oppositions in the Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha, Judges of the Supreme Court.
- Those who could use the red light without a flasher were the Chief Election Commissioner, Comptroller & Auditor General of India, Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, Ministers of State of the Union, Members of the Planning Commission, Attorney Journal of India, Cabinet Secretary, Chiefs of Staff of the three Services holding the Rank of full general or equivalent rank, Deputy Ministers of the Union, Officiating Chiefs of Staff of the three services holding the rank of Lt. General of equivalent rank. Chairman Central Administrative Tribunal, Chairman Minorities Commission, Chairman, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission, Chairman, Union Public Service Commission, Solicitor General of India.
- Currently the exemption has been given to the President of India, Vice-President and the Chief Justice of India.