Remove sirens from vehicles of VIPs: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the states to remove sirens from vehicles of VIPs.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the states to remove sirens from vehicles of VIPs as it is in violation of law and indicated that it would pass a direction for preventing misuse of red beacon also, observing that their use was a "reflection of British Raj".

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda questioned why these facilities are given to ministers, bureaucrats and politicians when P Chidambaram had refused to have them when he was the Home Minister.

"It is so paradoxical P Chidambram who was the Home Minister said that he did not need escort and siren for his vehicle. It was the functional requirement of Home Minister but he said he did not need anything," it said.

The court refused the plea of the governments seeking four weeks` more time to put in place rules for preventing their misuse and said that it would pass direction.

"You are mocking at court`s proceedings. We have given you enough time. Why did you not strike down notification in violation of Rule 108 of Central Motor Vehicles Act.

The miffed court went on to say, "People are the masters. They pay taxes and elect their representatives. Why they should not be given red beacon and siren."

"We are intending to strike down notifications. You have to ensure that all sirens are removed... It is a reflection of the British Raj," the bench said indicating that all notification of the Centre and states would be quashed as they are in violation of the Act.

"Why should we not strike down notification of the state governments for allowing red beacon on vehicles carrying high dignitaries," the bench observed while pointing out that there are states which have put all Ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats under the category of high dignitaries.

It said that only people holding constitutional posts be given red beacon and questioned the Centre for giving siren facilities to Supreme Court judges.

"We have noticed thousand times that vehicles cross the red light when the vehicle is fitted with beacon and siren," the bench said.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by a Uttar Pradesh resident on misuse of red beacon.

Earlier, the bench had said that misuse of red beacon and siren, granted by government to VIPs, is a menace to society and it must be stopped.

It had said the red light has become a status symbol and had said that police personnel, who are put on duty for giving security cover to VIPs, should be deployed for better purposes like making the roads safe for women.