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Cops see only 17 offenders
- Court prod on misuse of beacons atop cars

A red-light car is one of the more common sights on city streets and yet, acting on a court prod, the police have managed to spot just 17 vehicles using the beacon illegally.

In an affidavit submitted to Calcutta High Court on Thursday, deputy commissioner (traffic) Jawed Shamim said action had been taken against the errant 17, without mentioning who the offenders were.

There was also no mention of all those who continue to flaunt red-light cars despite not being on the entitled list.

The rampant use of the red beacon had caught the eye of Calcutta High Court following a public interest litigation (PIL) by advocate Idris Ali.

'From a symbol of emergency services to a beacon of special privileges, the red or amber light atop cars has now been reduced to a matter of common use and abuse,' Ali argued in his petition.

The larger argument, of course, is that the use of special lights should be restricted to emergency services alone, and perhaps to individuals in the Z-plus security category.

'According to the list of dignitaries entitled to use the beacon under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, only the director-general of state police has the privilege to use it,' pointed out Ali.

'But here, the superintendents of police, deputy commissioners and even some officers-in-charge of police stations are using beacons on their vehicles. This should have found mention in the affidavit,' added the petitioner.

In its order, the division bench had asked the government to furnish the names of all those using the beacon illegally. 'But this has not been done and police never take action against the offenders,' alleged Ali.

Shamim, meanwhile, claimed that the 'special drives' to slam the brakes on vehicles using the red lights illegally would continue.

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