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Govt bans red beacons on all VIP vehicles, including PM’s from May 1; emergency services exempt

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 19-04-2017

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to ban the use of red beacons atop vehicles of dignitaries and government officials, including the Prime Minister and the President.

The decision comes into effect from May 1, 2017.

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The decision, taken at the meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi, allows red beacons only on vehicles belonging to the fire service, police, army and ambulances, to ensure passage through traffic.

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The ban will extend to Union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the high court and Supreme Court.

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The move comes a month after chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab – Yogi Adityanath and Amarinder Singh – decided against the use of the red beacon or lal batti on their official cars.

In 2014, the Supreme Court said people hate red lights and pointed out that the problem of people being at the receiving end of VIP security was rooted in the carving out of “exceptions, exemptions and regularisation”.

The apex court described putting up of beacon lights and blowing of sirens as a “status symbol” and added that besides constitutional functionaries, it was the “ambulances, fire services, police and army who are in need for red lights. Rest can be excluded and there is no need for our orders”.

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