The yellow beacon era in the state is history.
The state transport department, through a notification on Tuesday, has abolished the use of yellow beacon by dignitaries and government officials. Translated in real terms, senior officials, including principal secretaries, secretaries, district magistrate, commissioners and district and additional district judges as well would be required to remove the yellow beacon from their vehicles.
Members of Legislative Assembly/Council, block development officer, joint, special and additional secretaries of any of the government departments, university vice-chancellors, registrars and panchayat presidents are also required to shun off the yellow beacon atop their vehicles.
About the latest notification, R.K. Mahajan, principal secretary, transport department, said: “As per the Supreme Court directive, the state government has amended the list of dignitaries authorised to use beacon. The revised list stipulates that no one is allowed to use yellow beacon — both with and without flashers. From now on, only red beacon — with or without flashers — is authorised to be used by dignitaries and officers in Bihar.”
The apex court, in its the December 10 judgment on a PIL filed by Uttar Pradesh resident Abhay Singh on unauthorised use of beacon, directed the Centre as well as state governments to issue a fresh list of people eligible for using red beacon on their vehicles within three months.
Sources in the transport department claimed that an amendment to the list of beacon users has been made strictly in accordance with the central government.
Mahajan claimed that the transport department would soon start a drive for removing the yellow beacon. “We are in fact among the first few states to have amended the list of dignitaries authorised to use beacon. We are going to issue public notices in a couple of days to ask people to remove the yellow beacon from their vehicles within a stipulated time. Thereafter, we would start conducting drives for removing the same,” said Mahajan.
The bureaucrats, however, appeared dissatisfied with the amendment in the list of “preferential” lights. “The list is still very large and it requires to be reduced. It allows red beacon to former chief ministers and there must be around 10 to 12 former chief ministers in Bihar at present. It also allows the use of beacon by around 40 judges of Patna High Court. However, it does not allow officers like district magistrate and commissioner to use the same, who are important persons for maintaining law and order. The list seems to have been prepared merely as per the protocol list of the state government and does not seem to involve a practical approach,” said Abhimanyu Singh, retired IAS officer (1964 batch).
The legal fraternity also seemed displeased with the new list of beacon. “District judges and additional district judges are superior grade officers of the judiciary and they have the authority to give the maximum punishments. Thus, they should be given some distinction from general public, thus they should be authorised to use beacon,” said AMC Srivastava, chairman, Bihar State Bar Council.
In Bihar, the last time a list of people entitled for using the “preferential lights” came up, was in June 2012.
As per the corresponding notification based on Clause III of Rule 108 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, people belonging to 20 categories, including chief minister, governor and cabinet ministers, among others were authorised to use red beacon. Similarly, officials belonging to another 20 categories were allowed to use yellow beacon.