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Court not to play cop

New Delhi, Jan. 10: The Supreme Court today refused to play “super cop” and direct the setting up of an “independent authority” to ensure that tinted films or other material are not pasted on the windshields or window panes of a vehicle.

A bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifullah said it had directed the Centre and the states to enforce the ban in April 2012, but it was up to them to ensure compliance.

“Please don’t expect the Supreme Court to be a ‘super cop’. The Supreme Court is meant for laying down the law,” the bench said.

The order had been passed in 2012 on a PIL filed by a Calcutta businessman, Avisekh Goenka, seeking a ban on the use of black films or other material on car windshields and windows as they facilitated rapes and murders.

“Once we have given a direction, we can’t enforce it. It is for the authorities to implement it. But if you have any specific instance of non-compliance, then you can file a contempt application. We will examine it,” Justice Patnaik said today.

The bench declined to entertain a fresh petition from Goenka seeking an “independent authority” to monitor implementation of the court order as no state or Union territory had enforced it.

Goenka told the court that if it failed to enforce its own directive, its credibility would be at stake.

But the bench said: “If the order is not implemented, what can we do? The credibility of the Supreme Court will not suffer. It is the credibility of the authorities that will be affected.”

In April 2012, the apex court had set the Centre a week’s deadline to enforce a total ban on the use of tinted films, irrespective of the degree of visibility, on windscreens and glass panels of vehicles in the country.

A bench headed by then Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia had directed police to start taking action against offenders from May 4, 2012, giving car owners time to restore vehicles to their original condition.

The court had then said that the police should not only issue challans to offending vehicles but also remove the tinted films from their windows or windshield.

“No black film or any material can be pasted on the windscreens or side glasses of a vehicle,” the bench had said, imposing a total ban on tinted films.