End of VIP culture: No beacon lights from May 1

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018

Beacon light will be removed from all vehicles, including that of Prime Minister, from May 1. File photo   -  The Hindu

Rules being changed to remove all beacon lights, barring for emergency services

Come May 1, there will be no blaring sirens and flashing of red or blue lights on VIP vehicles across the country, including those belonging to the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister.

Taking forward a Supreme Court ruling of December 2013 that had restricted use of red beacon lights and had asked the Centre to amend the Motor Vehicles Act accordingly, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to remove beacon lights from all vehicles, barring emergency services.

“With a view to strengthening healthy democratic values in the country, the Central Government took another historic step today. The Union Cabinet…has decided to do away with beacons of all kinds atop all categories of vehicles in the country,” a statement by the Road Transport Ministry said, adding that the decision was taken as “the government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP culture, and have no place in a democratic country.”


Beacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerned with emergency and relief services, ambulance, fire service etc, and in the light of this decision, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways would make necessary provisions in the law, the statement read.

Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said a detailed notification in this regard would be issued soon, adding that there was no need for any amendment in the existing Motor Vehicles Act.

“We can issue the notification under respective rules and before that a notice will be issued for public hearing,” Gadkari told a news agency.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters that two main changes will be made. The rule regarding the use of red, white and blue lights under rule 108 (1) (iii), which says some category of vehicles can be specified by the Centre and States to use red lights, will be removed, he said.

Another rule — 108 (ii) — that allows States to specify blue light with flashbulbs will also be changed and only defined emergency services, such as ambulance, fire brigade and police will be allowed use them, he added.

VVIP culture is rampant across India, with even MLAs, panchayat heads etc., moving around with beacons. Some States have already moved in this regard.

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi announced soon after taking oath in December 2013 that no Minister or government official would be allowed to use red beacon lights or escorts, as did the Congress government which took over in Punjab recently.

Related: Red beacon allowed only for high dignitaries: Apex court

Published on April 19, 2017

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