Many VIPs to lose red beacons on official vehicles

Post-SC order, only five categories of dignitaries can use them

Many VIPs to lose red beacons on official vehicles

The deputy commissioners of the district who are also the district magistrates, superintendents of police of the districts and members of parliament are among VIPs who have lost the privilege of using red beacons on their official vehicles. There are more than 30 categories of VIPs in the State who were hitherto officially entitled to use the red beacons, considered symbols of status and high privilege.

However, according to Transport department authorities, all and sundry officials, even down the line at the taluk level, were illegally and unauthorisedly carrying the red beacons on their vehicles.

The Supreme Court has restricted the use of red beacons to only five categories of dignitaries. While disposing of a special leave petition, the court struck down all notifications issued by the State government with regard to the use of red beacons. Only five categories of VIPs can now use the symbol of status. They are: Governor, chief minister, cabinet minister, chairman of the Legislative Council, Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Justice and judges of the High Court.

The transport department has sent notices to all public authorities and VIPs who are not entitled to use red beacons, asking them to remove the same if they are using it.
“Hitherto, it was an executive order. Now ,it is a Supreme Court ruling. If anyone uses the red beacon, despite our advice, it attracts contempt of court,” Regional Transport Officer Eashwar Awati said.

The VIPs eligible to use red beacons as per the earlier notification were: Karnataka Lokayukta, Upa Lokayukta, leaders of opposition in the Assembly and the Council, ministers of state, deputy ministers, chief secretary, additional chief secretary, principal secretary of home and transport departments, director general of police, divisional commissioners of revenue divisions, range IGPs, transport commissioners, mayors of city corporations, assistant commissioners, sub-divisional magistrates and DySPs. The notification containing this list was issued in 1994. In 2006, the list was revised and the privilege was extended to State MPs.

The transport department officials said, several others including tahsildars, inspectors, deputy mayors, ZP CEOs and corporation commissioners were using the red beacons illegally.

“In the past, we used to seize the red lights. Since they are available in the market, they would refix them. This cannot happen anymore,” the RTO said.

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