No red beacons as freebies in UP

The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday directed authorities to remove red beacons from the vehicles of those who have been given the status of minister of state but do not hold a constitutional post.

The court order on a Public Interest Litigation filed by social worker Sachhinand Gupta is a setback to the Samajwadi Party government, which in its 21-month tenure so far appointed some 100 people to the posts of advisor, chairperson and vice-chairperson in government departments and public sector undertakings.

Some days ago the UP government appointed two advisors and gave them vehicles fitted with red beacons.

The court directed the state government to implement the order within two weeks and told it to implement the December 10 order of the Supreme Court too.

Red beacons became a status symbol in UP and successive governments used them to ‘rehabilitate’ disgruntled elements in the ruling party and to woo leaders from different communities.

The SP government gave the status of minister of state to several minor leaders who often used red beacons and hooters on Lucknow’s roads.

Even family members and staff of such ministers used red beacons and hooters. In the past the traffic department started drives against their misuse but failed.

BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak welcomed the court decision. “It will put a stop to the practice of distributing red beacons as gifts,” he said.

On December 10, the apex court said red beacons with or without flashers should be fitted only in the vehicles of high constitutional dignitaries and blue or multi-coloured beacons should be fitted only in emergency service and police vehicles.

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