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CIMA Gallary

Beacon whip under HC scan

The high court on Tuesday directed the state’s director general of police (traffic) and Calcutta police’s deputy commissioner (traffic) to file within three days a report on how many vehicles their departments had caught in the past year for using beacons illegally.

“In the report, the DG and DC will have to mention what action their departments had taken against those found guilty of using beacons illegally,” stated the division bench of Justice Ashim Kumar Roy and Justice Deepak Saha Roy in its order.

The bench also directed the state transport department to issue advertisements “on the front page of all leading dailies of the state” declaring the list of dignitaries entitled to use beacons.

In the advertisements, the department will have to mention the punishment under the motor vehicles rules for using beacons illegally (fine up to Rs 500 and simple imprisonment for up to a week).

In response to an earlier order, state transport secretary B.P. Gopalika filed a report in court on Tuesday listing those his department had permitted to use beacons in the cars.

According to the report, 14 categories of dignitaries, like Bharat Ratnas, governor, chief minister, other ministers, speaker, deputy speaker, leader of opposition and advocate-general can use beacons with flashers atop their cars.

It also stated that 24 other categories of dignitaries could use beacons without flashers atop their vehicles. The chief, home and principal secretaries of the state, chairpersons of tribunals and the state human rights commission, chief electoral officer, vice-chancellors of universities in the state and the lokayukta are on this list.

The transport secretary also said: “The mayor of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, chairperson of Bidhannagar Municipality, zilla parishad sahadhipatis and the Calcutta police commissioner have the right to use beacon in their respective areas.”

Advocate Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, the amicus curiae, said: “Income tax officers and managing directors of government undertakings have been illegally using beacons and even flashers.”