New Delhi: Welcoming the Supreme Court order restricting use of red beacon, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said only the President and the Prime Minister should have the privilege and favoured a similar criteria for providing security escort.
"I welcome the Supreme Court order. I think it is high time. I think it is too much and we need to get out of it. I am firmly of the view that only the Prime Minister and the President should have a red beacon on their cars," he said.
The Rural Development Minister, who never uses a red beacon on his car, also questioned the need for security around the ministers.
"My view is that only the Prime Minister and the President should have the security. Why should ministers want security? You see me having security anywhere?," said Ramesh, who takes a 40-minute walk to his official residence in Lodhi Garden without security after work at the Rural Development Ministry office at Krishi Bhavan here.
When pointed out that state government provides him security during his visit to the states, the Minister said, "I tell state governments not to provide security... They provide security.
"I tell them not to provide bullet-proof car in Jharkhand, they provide bullet-proof car. I sit in a non-bullet proof car."
He said that the state governments are concerned because "if something happens, they will get blamed".
The Supreme Court today held that red beacon be allowed to be used only by persons holding constitutional posts and high dignitaries to prevent its misuse by local politicians flaunting it as a status symbol.
A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi asked the Centre to issue a fresh list of people eligible for using red beacon on their vehicles and asked the Government to amend the rule within three months.