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Tint rule in device fog

- Regional transport office lacks machines to implement apex court order

Bhubaneswar, May 3: A Supreme Court order notwithstanding, cars with tinted glass and windscreens may continue to zip around the capital for some more time.

While officials are still waiting for a copy of the April 27 ruling, the regional transport office does not appear to be properly equipped to enforce the judgment.

“I am yet to go through the details as we have not received a copy of the order. We have introduced various traffic reforms, so implementing this will not be a problem,” said deputy commissioner of police, Bhubaneswar, Nitinjeet Singh.

The order passed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice A.K. Patnaik reads: “We prohibit the use of black film of any VLT (visual light transmission) percentage or any other material upon the safety glasses, windscreens and side glasses of all vehicles throughout the country.”

They said the home secretary, director-general/commissioner of police of the respective states/Centre shall ensure compliance with this direction, which will become operational and enforceable with effect from May 4.

“This kind of visual scrutiny on the road will deter criminals and troublemakers from committing crimes inside vehicles and escaping. But, it is the regional transport office’s job to enforce the law,” said a senior cop.

Regional transport officer, Bhubaneswar, Lalmohan Sethy said motor vehicles inspectors conduct thorough checks on glass used in private vehicles at the time of registration after which “thickness certificates” are awarded.

He, however, admitted the office lacked equipment to measure the VLT limit. “We check the glass on the basis of visual assessment. According to rules, vehicles using very dark film are slapped with a fine of Rs 100,” Sethy said.

However, this way of determining the VLT leaves ample room for mistakes. “The court’s order is specific, but how can one expect visual assessment of the glass to be accurate? Without machines, how would one know the difference between 60 and 70 per cent VLT?” said businessman Nikhil Agarwal.

The apex court has ordered that manufacturers may produce vehicles with tinted glass that have “visual light transmission of windscreen (front and rear) as 70 per cent… and side glasses as 40 per cent, respectively”. No films can be pasted on the glass later to increase the tint, which is commonly practised to provide a shield against the sun.

It also directs “the competent officer” (traffic personnel or any other authorised person) to remove such films from vehicles from May 4 and penalise offenders. The court, though, has clarified that VIPs, too, would not be allowed to use films on their vehicles but exempts people against whom there is a threat perception.