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Thursday, December 12, 2013

RED LIGHT ON VEHICLES - only dignitaries as specified by central and state as per proviso (iii) to Rule 108(1) of the 1989 Rules and as prescribed in clauses ‘c’ and ‘d’ of Notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2005 issued by the Central Government. - ambulance services, fire services, emergency maintenance etc, and police vehicles used as escorts or pilots or for law and order duties shall not be entitled to have red lights but lights of other colours, e.g., blue, white, multicoloured etc. - Clause 51 of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2012 contains a provision for imposition of enhanced penalty. - misuse of the provisions of the 1989 Act and the 1989 Rules generally and the provisions of Rules 108 and 119 in particular. = Abhay Singh ....PETITIONER versus State of Uttar Pradesh and others ...RESPONDENTS = published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=41060

  RED LIGHT ON VEHICLES - only dignitaries as specified by central and state  as per proviso (iii) to Rule  108(1)  of  the  1989 Rules and as prescribed in clauses ‘c’ and ‘d’ of Notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2005 issued by the Central  Government. ambulance services, fire services,  emergency maintenance etc, and police vehicles used as escorts or pilots or  for
law and order duties shall not be entitled  to  have  red  lights  but lights of other colours, e.g., blue, white, multicoloured etc. - Clause 51  of  the  Motor  Vehicles  (Amendment)  Bill,  2012
contains a provision for imposition of enhanced penalty.  - misuse of the provisions of the 1989 Act and the 1989  Rules  generally  and the provisions of Rules 108 and 119 in  particular.  =

whether   the   Constitution   contemplates
categorization of citizens into two groups and whether  the  entitlement  to
use signs and symbols of authority, such  as  lights  of  different  colours
including red lights, insignia, and convoys/escorts by public  servants  and
persons, who hold public offices under the States or the Union of India,  is
contrary to constitutional ethos and  the  basic  feature  of  republicanism
enshrined in the Constitution. =

On the issue of use of vehicles with red lights, we were  inclined  to
agree with Shri Harish Salve, learned Amicus that use of signs  and  symbols
of authority such as red lights, etc., is  contrary  to  the  constitutional
ethos  and  the  basic  feature  of  republicanism,   but,   on   a   deeper
consideration, we have felt persuaded  to  accept  the  submissions  of  the
learned Solicitor General and the  Additional  Solicitor  General  that  the
term “high dignitaries” used in proviso (iii) to Rule  108(1)  of  the  1989
Rules would take  within  its  fold  various  constitutional  functionaries,
i.e., holders of the  constitutional  offices.   
When  the  framers  of  the
Constitution  have  considered  it  appropriate  to  treat  those  occupying
constitutional positions as a special category, there is no reason  for  the
Court to exclude them from the ambit of the term  “high  dignitaries”.   
The
use of red lights on the vehicles carrying  the  holders  of  constitutional
posts will in no manner compromise with the dignity of  other  citizens  and
individuals or embolden them to  think  that  they  are  superior  to  other
people, more so, because this distinction would be available  to  them  only
while on duty and would be co-terminus  with  their  tenure.   
However,  the
Governments of most of the States and Administration  of  Union  Territories
have framed rules and issued notifications allowing use  of  red  lights  on
the  vehicles  carrying  large  number   of   persons   other   than   “high
dignitaries”.  
They have also used the power  of  issuing  notifications  to
enlarge the list of the persons entitled to use red lights with  or  without
flashers whether on duty or otherwise.  Most of these notifications are  far
beyond the  scope  of  clause  ‘c’  of  Notifications  dated  11.1.2002  and
28.7.2005  issued  by  the  Central  Government.  
It  also  deserves  to  be
mentioned that there has been abysmal failure on the part of  the  concerned
authorities  and   agencies   of   various   State   Governments   and   the
Administration of the Union Territories to  check  misuse  of  the  vehicles
with red lights on their top.  So much so that a  large  number  of  persons
are using red lights on their vehicles for committing  crimes  in  different
parts of the country and  they  do  so  with  impunity  because  the  police
officials are mostly scared of checking vehicles with red  lights,  what  to
say of imposing fine or penalty.

In the result, we hold as under:
1.    The term “high dignitaries” used in proviso (iii) to  Rule  108(1)  of
      the 1989 Rules takes within its fold the  holders  of  various  posts,
      positions and offices specified in the Constitution.

2.    The motor  vehicles  carrying  “high  dignitaries”  specified  by  the
      Central Government and  their  counterparts  specified  by  the  State
      Government may be fitted with red lights but the red  lights  with  or
      without flasher can be used only while the specified high dignitary is
      on duty and not otherwise.

3.    The State Governments and Administration of Union  Territories  cannot
      enlarge the scope of  the  term  “high  dignitaries”  beyond  what  is
      prescribed in clauses ‘c’ and ‘d’ of Notifications dated 11.1.2002 and
      28.7.2005 issued by the Central  Government.   Therefore,  they  shall
      amend the relevant rules and notifications to bring them in tune  with
      the 1989 Rules and notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2002  issued
      by the Central Government. This exercise must be  completed  within  a
      period of three months.

4.    The men in uniform; operational  agencies  which  require  un-hindered
      access to the roads for performance of their duty;  those  engaged  in
      emergency duties such as ambulance services, fire services,  emergency
      maintenance etc, and police vehicles used as escorts or pilots or  for
      law and order duties shall not be entitled  to  have  red  lights  but
      lights of other colours, e.g., blue, white, multicoloured etc.

5.    No motor vehicles except those specified in Rule 119(3)  of  the  1989
      Rules or similar provisions contained in the rules framed by the State
      Governments or the Administration of Union Territories shall be fitted
      with multi-toned horns giving a succession of different notes or  with
      any other sound producing device giving an unduly harsh, shrill,  loud
      or alarming noise.

6.    The police officers and other authorities entrusted with the  task  of
      enforcing the  provisions  of  the  1988  Act  and  the  Rules  framed
      thereunder must discharge their duties without any fear or favour  and
      should impose appropriate penalty on those who violate the prohibition
      contained in Rule 108(1) and Rule 119 and similar rules framed by  the
      State Governments and the Administration  of  Union  Territories.  The
      owners/users of the vehicles fitted with multi-toned horns other  than
      those allowed to use such horns under Rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or
      corresponding  rules  framed  by  the  State   Governments   and   the
      Administration of the Union Territories shall, within a period of  one
      month  from  today,  remove  the  multi-toned  horns.   The   officers
      authorised to enforce the provisions of the 1988  Act  and  the  rules
      framed thereunder by the Central Government, the State Governments and
      the Administration of Union Territories shall also ensure that  multi-
      toned horns are removed from all the vehicles except  those  specified
      in rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or corresponding rules framed by  the
      State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories.

7.    The Chief Secretaries of all the  States  and  the  Administrators  of
      Union Territories shall cause a notice  published  in  the  newspapers
      having wide circulation in  their  respective  States  and  the  Union
      Territories incorporating the directions contained in this order.

      In the note submitted by the learned Solicitor General,  it  has  been
mentioned that Clause 51  of  the  Motor  Vehicles  (Amendment)  Bill,  2012
contains a provision for imposition of enhanced penalty.  
That amendment  is
not shown to have been carried out so far.   
We  hope  and  trust  that  the
Legislature  will  make  appropriate  amendment  and  make   provision   for
imposition of adequate  penalty  which  may  operate  as  deterrent  against
misuse of the provisions of the 1989 Act and the 1989  Rules  generally  and
the provisions of Rules 108 and 119 in  particular.  
The  State  Governments
and the Administration of the  Union  Territories  shall  either  amend  the
existing rules or frame appropriate rules for imposing deterrent penalty  on
the violators of the rules containing prohibition against  the  use  of  red
lights and multi-toned horns or similar devices.
                     

            REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                 SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION NO.(C) No.25237/2010



Abhay Singh                            ....PETITIONER


                                   versus


State of Uttar Pradesh and others         ...RESPONDENTS


                                    with


                   SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION(C) No.23984/2010


Abhay Singh                            ....PETITIONER


                                   versus


Union of India and another               ....RESPONDENTS





                                  O R D E R





G.S. SINGHVI, J.


      One of the several questions of public and  constitutional  importance
raised by Shri Harish Salve, learned senior counsel, who initially  appeared
on behalf of the petitioner in the special  leave  petitions  filed  against
order dated 21.8.2009 passed by the Division Bench  of  the  Allahabad  High
Court in C.M.W.P. No. 15440 of 1998 quashing  the  withdrawal  of  “Z  Grade
Security” provided to Respondent No.6-Pramod Tiwari, but  later  on  assumed
the  role  of  an  Amicus,  is  
whether   the   Constitution   contemplates
categorization of citizens into two groups and whether  the  entitlement  to
use signs and symbols of authority, such  as  lights  of  different  colours
including red lights, insignia, and convoys/escorts by public  servants  and
persons, who hold public offices under the States or the Union of India,  is
contrary to constitutional ethos and  the  basic  feature  of  republicanism
enshrined in the Constitution.
      Notice of the special leave petitions was issued on 25.8.2010.   After
an adjournment, the Court passed  detailed  order  dated  14.10.2011,  which
reads as under:
      “Although, the prayer made in this petition filed under Article 136 of
      the Constitution is for setting aside the order passed by the Division
      Bench of Allahabad High Court directing consideration of the  case  of
      respondent No. 6 for providing 'Z' category security to  him  and  his
      family members, at the hearing Shri Harish N.  Salve,  Learned  Senior
      counsel for the petitioner submitted that  dehors  the  facts  of  the
      case, the Court should examine important issues affecting an important
      facet of the Constitutional democracy i.e. whether the country  should
      have two categories of citizens, of which  one  enjoys  all  sorts  of
      privileges including unwanted security at public expense and  is  also
      allowed to use  different  kinds  of  symbols  which  represented  the
      authority of the State in pre-independence  era  and  the  fundamental
      rights to life and liberty of other category are not  protected.  Shri
      Salve suggested that the following questions may be considered by  the
      Court:
   1. Whether the permission to use signs and symbols of authority, such  as
      beacons, insignia, and  convoys/escorts  by  public  servants  or  any
      person who holds any office under the States or the Union of India, or
      any other person, is contrary to Article  18  and  38  and  the  basic
      feature of republicanism enshrined in the Constitution?
   2. Whether the State was and is under an affirmative obligation to ensure
      that the vision of the founding fathers to change  the  perception  of
      the State and its functionaries from rulers to public servants who are
      to serve rather than govern the people, was implemented in letter  and
      spirit?
   3. Whether by virtue of Article 21 read with Article 14, State  is  under
      an obligation to afford the same degree of protection  to  the  safety
      and security of every person irrespective of any office held  by  such
      person or status of such person or any other factor?
   4. Whether the grant of protection [by  way  of  escorts  or  otherwise],
      particularly at the expense of the State, on the basis  of  an  office
      held by a person or any other factor [other than a perceived  need  to
      grant heightened protection on account of  aggravated  threat  to  the
      life of any person on account of his lawful occupation, assessed on an
      objective basis] is illegal, ultra vires and unconstitutional?
   5. Whether the State is under an obligation to ensure that any heightened
      protection granted to any person, or any special security arrangements
      made for any person, holding public office, is done in a  manner  that
      does not violate the principle of republicanism and the provisions  or
      Art. 18 and 21 of the Constitution?
           Shri Pallav Shishodia,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for
           respondent No.6 says that the questions proposed by the  learned
           counsel  appearing  for  the  petitioner  are  of  great  public
           importance and he will have no objection if same are  considered
           by the Court. He also suggested that  the  Court  may  suo  motu
           order impleadment of all the States  and  Union  Territories  as
           parties so that they may also make appropriate submissions.
           We have considered the submissions of the  learned  counsel  and
           are prima facie satisfied  first  four  of  the  five  questions
           framed by Shri Salve would require detailed examination.
           Let notice be issued to all the  States  and  Union  Territories
           through their Secretaries, Home Department so as to enable  them
           to file their written response in the context of question No.  1
           to  4  framed  by  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
           petitioner. Notice is returnable in six weeks.
           Keeping  in  view  the  importance  of  the   questions   framed
           hereinabove, we request the learned Solicitor General to  assist
           the Court.”

      On 17.1.2013, the  Court   considered   the   prayer   made   in   the
application filed on behalf  of   the   SLP  petitioner   and   passed   the
following order:

           "Shri Harish Salve, learned  senior   counsel  representing  the
           petitioner in S.L.P.(C) No.25237 of  2010   place    before  the
           Court  an application for direction in which it has been  prayed
           that a direction may be issued to all  the States   and    Union
           Territories to furnish information under the following headings:


           (a)  The Rules, Orders or Guidelines, if any, in the State which
           prescribe the policy for permitting Red Lights  on  vehicles  to
           various persons in the state.


           (b)  The Rules, Orders or Guidelines, if any, in the state which
           prescribe the policy  of  the  state  for  permitting   security
           personnel to individuals.


           (c)  The Names and  the  designation  of  the  persons  to  whom
           security personnel have been provided and the number of security
           persons provided to them.


           (d)  Total cost borne by the state for  providing  security   in
           terms as aforesaid.


          (e)  Total number of security personnel in  the  state   and   the
           total  number   of   such  personnel  who  are  engaged  in  (i)
           Maintaining   Law   and    Order,  (ii)  Crime  Prevention   and
           investigation and (iii) Traffic Management.

          Learned counsel for the States and Union  Territories must  ensure
           that  affidavits  of  the  responsible  officers  of  the   Home
           Department of their respective States  and    Union  Territories
           are  filed within three weeks from today.   Any  lapse  in  this
           regard will be viewed seriously.

            For further consideration, list the cases on 07.02.2013."


      On the next effective  date   of   hearing,   i.e.,   14.2.2013,   the
Court took into consideration two notes  made  available   by   the  learned
Amicus and  passed  detailed  order,  the  relevant portions  of  which  are
reproduced below:

           "Before considering the issues raised  in  the  2nd   note  made
            available by Shri Salve,  we   deem  it  proper  to  issue  the
           following directions:


           1. All the State Governments and the  Administration  of   Union
           Territories shall furnish the details  of   the  total  expenses
           incurred in  providing  security  to  public  functionaries  and
           private individuals other than  holders  of  the  constitutional
           office like the President,   the   Vice-President,   the   Prime
           Minister, the Speaker of the Lok  Sabha,  the  Chairman  of  the
           Rajya Sabha and   the   Chief   Justice   of   India  and  their
           counter parts in the States and Union Territories.


           2. Total number of persons other than the dignitaries,  to  whom
           reference has been made in the  preceding   paragraph,  to  whom
           security has been provided at  the  State  expense   giving  the
           details of number of  persons of  various   cadres  deputed  for
           providing security to the various persons.


           3. The details of the security  provided  to  the  children  and
           other family members / relatives  of  the  public  functionaries
           within or outside the State/Union Territory.


           4. The details of the persons who are facing  criminal  charges,
           charges of violating any provisions of law and to whom  security
           has been provided at State expense.


           5. The details of the private individuals to whom  the  security
           has been provided at the cost of public exchequer,   whether  in
                   lieu  of payment made by them or otherwise.

           6.     Each  State  Government/Union  Territory  shall  security
           provided to public  functionaries and  provide  details  of  the
           review undertaken of the private individuals.


           7. All the States and Union Territories shall file copies of the
           Rules/Orders which authorises the police and other functionaries
            to close roads for movement of public functionaries  or   their
           visits.


           8. The notifications issued by the  Central   Government,  State
           Governments and the Union Territories authorising use of  Sirens
            other than  by  the  man  in  uniform  and  those  engaged  and
           providing medical facilities to  the patients  and  victims   of
           accidents."


      When the case was taken up for hearing on 3.4.2013,  Shri   Harish  N.
Salve made submissions with reference to the following three questions:
           "1.   Whether the use of beacons red-light and sirens by persons
           other than high  constitutional  functionaries  is  lawful   and
           constitutional?


           2. Whether the provision of security to  persons other than  the
           constitutional functionaries without corresponding  increase  in
           sanctioned strength and without  a specific assessment of threat
           is lawful and constitutional?


           3.    Whether the closure of roads for facilitating movement  of
           VIPs is lawful and constitutional?"



      Further arguments were heard on 4.4.2013 and certain  directions  were
issued in the light of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act,  1988  (for
short, ‘the 1988 Act’), the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989  (for  short,
‘the 1989  Rules’)and  the  Rules  framed  by  the  State  Governments,  the
relevant portions of which are extracted hereunder:
      “The Motor Vehicles Act was enacted in 1988 and the Rules were  framed
      by the Central Government and various State Governments in  1989.  The
      legislative bodies and the authorities have not thought it  proper  to
      make appropriate amendments to bring the provisions of the Act and the
      Rules in conformity with the aspirations of the people of  a  republic
      and even now a small section of the society considers itself to be  as
      a special category as compared to other citizens. This appears  to  be
      the primary reason why the Governments after Governments  have  issued
      notifications under Section 6 of the 1988 Act  and  the  rules  framed
      thereunder authorizing the use  of   beacons  on  government  vehicles
      (some persons use such beacons even on private vehicles). The time has
      come when the use of beacons  on  the  vehicles,  government  or  non-
      government is drastically restricted so that  the  people’s  right  to
      freedom of movement is not hindered in any manner whatsoever.


      Learned counsel representing some of the State  Governments  have  not
      controverted the assertion made by Shri Salve that not only  the  high
      dignitaries on duty but large number of other elected and  non-elected
      persons are allowed to use beacons and sirens/hooters causing  serious
      invoncenience  to  the  general  public  using  the  roads  and   even
      otherwise.


      Shri Salve also brought to our notice the fact that  the  vehicles  of
      the State neighbouring NCT of Delhi  use  beacons  with  flashers  and
      sirens even though they are not permitted to  do  so  in  the  NCT  of
      Delhi.


      With a view to ensure that menace of beacons on vehicles  and  use  of
      sirens is stopped except in the cases of heads of  the  constitutional
      institutions, we deem it proper to give an opportunity to the  Central
      Government  as  also  the  Governments  of  all  the  States  and  the
      Administration  of  the  Union  Territories  to  amend  the   relevant
      provisions of the Rules and the notifications issued under Rule 108 of
      the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 and corresponding provisions in
      the State Rules as also Rule 119 for restricting the use of beacons by
      the heads of political executive, legislature and judiciary  only  and
      total prohibition on the use of siren  except  by  police,  ambulance,
      fire fighters, Army and those permitted in Rule  119(3)  of  the  1989
      Rules and the corresponding Rules framed by the State Governments.


      We also deem it proper to indicate that it will  be  prudent  for  the
      Central  Government  and  the  State  Governments  as  well   as   the
      administration of the Union Territories to substantially increase  the
      fine for violation of the provisions of the 1988 Act and in particular
      those relating to the matters indicated hereinabove.”



       Shri  Mohan  Parasaran,  learned  Solicitor  General,  Shri  Sidharth
Luthra, learned Additional  Solicitor  General  representing  the  Union  of
India  and  Delhi  Administration  respectively,  and  Shri  Gaurav  Bhatia,
learned Additional Advocate General, Uttar Pradesh agreed that  unauthorized
use of red lights on motor vehicles and multi-toned  horns  deserves  to  be
dealt with sternly and exemplary fine should be imposed on the violators.
      After considering their statement, the Court  adjourned  the  case  to
enable them to get in touch with the concerned authorities  to  find  out  a
possible administrative and legislative solution to this  menace.   However,
neither the Central Government nor the State Governments took any  step  for
checking the menace of  unauthorized  use  of  red  lights  and  multi-toned
horns.
      On the next date of hearing, i.e.,  19.8.2013,  the  Court  heard  the
arguments on the interpretation of Rules 108 and 119 of  the  Central  Motor
Vehicles Rules, 1989 and notification dated 11.1.2002 issued by the  Central
Government. Thereafter, the  learned  Solicitor  General  made  available  a
short note on behalf of the Union of India (Ministry of Road, Transport  and
Highways) and the learned Amicus handed over note  containing  the  gist  of
his submissions.  Two further notes were  made  available  on  4.10.2013  by
Shri Sushil Kumar Jain, Senior Advocate representing the SLP petitioner.
      Shri Harish  Salve,  learned  Amicus  pointed  out  that  Rule  108(1)
imposes total prohibition against showing a red light to the front or  light
other than red to rear and that exemption  envisaged  by  proviso  (iii)  to
Rule  108(1)  is  limited  to  a  vehicle  carrying  “high  dignitaries”  as
specified by the Central Government or the State Governments, from  time  to
time. Shri Salve emphasized that even though  the  term  “high  dignitaries”
has not been defined in the 1988 Act and the 1989  Rules,  keeping  in  view
the Preamble of the Constitution which talks of equality of status  and  the
dignity of individual, that term must be given a  restricted  interpretation
to include only Heads of three wings of the Republic, i.e.,  the  President,
the Vice-President, the Governors of the States,  the  Prime  Minister,  the
Chief Ministers, Speaker of the  Lower  House  of  Parliament,  Speakers  of
Legislative Assemblies and Chairmen of Legislative Councils  and  the  Chief
Justice of India and the Chief Justices of the  High  Courts.  He  submitted
that while the Central Government has restricted the use of red  light  with
or without flasher on the top front of a vehicle carrying  high  dignitaries
who have been specified in  Notification  dated  11.1.2002,  as  amended  by
Notification dated  28.7.2005,  and  that  too  while  on  duty,  the  State
Governments have exercised the rule  making  power  under  Section  110  and
allowed the use of red lights with  or  without  flasher  by  a  very  large
number of public representatives  at  various  levels  as  also  the  public
servants and made a mockery of the object of proviso (iii) to  Rule  108(1).
The learned Amicus submitted that the use  of  red  light  with  or  without
flasher on the top of the government vehicles allotted to a  large  body  of
public representatives and civil servants has become  a  status  symbol  and
those using such  vehicles  treat  themselves  as  a  class  different  than
ordinary citizens.  According to Shri  Salve,  the  widespread  use  of  red
lights on government vehicles in the country is reflective of the  mentality
of those who served British Government in India and treated the  natives  as
slaves.  He drew  our  attention  to  the  rules  framed  by  various  State
Governments and the notifications issued permitting use of red  lights  with
or without flasher on the top of the vehicles  to  show  that  the  idea  of
permitting red light on the vehicle carrying  “high  dignitaries”  has  been
reduced to a farce.
      Shri Salve also referred to Rule 119 of  the  1989  Rules  and  argued
that despite total prohibition on use of multi-toned  horns,  vehicles  used
by  public  servants  of  different  categories  are  indulging  in  rampant
violation of the prohibition. Shri Salve pointed out that in terms  of  Rule
119(3), only in the vehicles used as ambulances  or  for  fire  fighting  or
salvage purposes or  vehicles  used  by  police  officers  or  operators  of
construction  equipment  vehicles  or  officers  of   the   Motor   Vehicles
Department in  the  course  of  their  duty  or  on  construction  equipment
vehicles, the registering authority can permit  use  of  multi-toned  horns,
but such horns are being used by public representatives from the  lowest  to
the highest level and civil servants of every possible  category  and  those
entrusted  with  the  task  of  enforcing  these  provisions  contemptuously
overlook the violations.
      Shri Mohan Parasaran, learned Solicitor General  argued  that  in  the
absence of challenge to the vires and constitutionality of  Rule  108,  this
Court cannot impose restriction on the power of the  Central  Government  to
specify the vehicles carrying “high dignitaries” which may be  permitted  to
use red light with or without flasher.  He further argued that there  is  no
valid reason to give a restricted meaning to  the  term  “high  dignitaries”
and it should be left to the Central and the State  Governments  to  specify
the “high dignitaries”. According to  the  learned  Solicitor  General,  the
vehicles carrying certain dignitaries and category of  officials  constitute
a class by themselves and no illegality has  been  committed  by  the  State
Governments by allowing use of red lights on the vehicles carrying  a  large
number of public representatives and public  servants.   He  submitted  that
fixing of red lights on the vehicles used by  civil  servants  is  essential
for  effective  discharge  of  their  duties.   Learned  Solicitor   General
submitted that such use of red lights facilitates  the  movement  of  public
representatives and civil servants.  He then submitted that  clause  (e)  of
notification dated 11.1.2002 contains conditions for exercise  of  power  by
the State Government to grant exemption and argued that in some  cases,  the
State  Government  might  have  violated   the   conditions   specified   in
notification dated 11.1.2002, but that cannot be a  ground  for  restricting
the use of red lights on the vehicles used by government officers.
      Shri Parasaran submitted that (1)  men  in  uniform;  (2)  operational
agencies which require un-hindered access to the  road  for  performance  of
their duty;  (3)  those  engaged  in  emergency  duties  such  as  ambulance
services, fire services, emergency maintenance etc;  and  (4)  officials  in
Districts, etc., such as Divisional Commissioner, DM,  ADM,  SDM,  Executive
Magistrates or where their functional requirements necessitate smooth,  fast
and easy passage in certain circumstances,  are  not  entitled  to  use  red
light on their vehicles but lights of  other  colours,  e.g.,  blue,  white,
multicoloured etc.
      On the issue of  use  of  multi-toned  horns,  the  learned  Solicitor
General  submitted  that  Rule  119(2)  imposes  total  prohibition  on  the
fittings of such horns on any vehicle subject to  the  exceptions  specified
in clause (3) thereof and the Union of India is fully  committed  to  ensure
total compliance of the prohibition.

      Shri Siddharth Luthra, learned Additional Solicitor General  supported
the argument of learned Solicitor General and submitted that the term  “high
dignitaries” should be so interpreted  as  to  include  all  those  who  are
holding constitutional offices, i.e.,  the  President,  the  Vice-President,
the Prime Minister,  the Speaker of Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice  of  India,
the Judges of the Supreme  Court,  Chairman  of  the  Union  Public  Service
Commission,  the  Comptroller  and  Auditor  General,  the  Chief   Election
Commissioner  and  their  counterparts  in  the  States.  Shri  Luthra  also
emphasized that use of the lights  of  different  colours  on  the  vehicles
carrying civil servants is absolutely imperative  because  that  facilitates
their movement and enables them to effectively discharge their duties.
       We  have  considered  the  respective  arguments  and   perused   the
provisions of the 1988 Act, the 1989 Rules  as  also  the  Rules  framed  by
various State Governments and Administration of Union Territories.  We  have
also gone through notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2005 issued by  the
Central Government under proviso (iii) to Rule 108(1) of the 1989 Rules.
      The basics of Indian Republic were outlined in  the  Resolution  moved
by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in the meeting of the Constituent Assembly  held
on 13.12.1946. The relevant portions of the same are extracted below:


      "(1)This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve  to
      proclaim India as an Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for
      her future governance a Constitution; (2)WHEREIN the territories  that
      now comprise British India, the territories that now form  the  Indian
      States, and such other parts of India as are outside British India and
      the States as well as such other territories  as  are  willing  to  be
      constituted into the Independent Sovereign India, shall be a Union  of
      them all; and (3) WHEREIN the said  territories,  whether  with  their
      present boundaries or with such others as may  be  determined  by  the
      Constituent Assembly and  thereafter  according  to  the  Law  of  the
      Constitution, shall possess and retain the status of autonomous Units,
      together with residuary powers, and exercise all powers and  functions
      of government and administration, save  and  except  such  powers  and
      functions as are vested in  or  assigned  to  the  Union,  or  as  are
      inherent or implied in the  Union  or  resulting  therefrom;  and  (4)
      WHEREIN all power and authority of the  Sovereign  Independent  India,
      its constituent parts and organs of government, are derived  from  the
      people; and (5)WHEREIN shall be guaranteed  and  secured  to  all  the
      people of India justice, social, economic and political;  equality  of
      status, of opportunity,  and  before  the  law;  freedom  of  thought,
      expression, belief, faith worship, vocation, association  and  action,
      subject to law and public morality; and (6)WHEREIN adequate safeguards
      shall be provided for  minorities,  backward  and  tribal  areas,  and
      depressed  and  other  backward  classes;  and  (7)WHEREBY  shall   be
      maintained the integrity of the territory  of  the  Republic  and  its
      sovereign rights on land, sea, and air according to  Justice  and  the
      law of  civilised  nations,  and  (8)this  ancient  land  attains  its
      rightful and honoured place in the world and make its full and willing
      contribution to the promotion  of  world  peace  and  the  welfare  of
      mankind.


      I hope, the House will notice that in  this  Resolution,  although  we
      have not used the word 'democratic' because we thought it  is  obvious
      that the word 'republic' contains that word and we did not want to use
      unnecessary words and redundant words, but we have done something much
      more than using the word. We have given the content  of  democracy  in
      this Resolution and not only the content of democracy but the content,
      if I may say so, of economic democracy in this Resolution.


      The Resolution placed before you to-day has equality as its underlying
      theme. The different sections of the country have been given  autonomy
      and India as a whole remains one with full sovereignty. We shall stand
      united in affairs which demand our unity. The one important  thing  in
      the Resolution is the recognition of India  as  a  free  country.  Our
      country is one and yet we shall  give  full  freedom  to  its  various
      sections to have for themselves whatever  administration  they  liked.
      The present division of our country  into  provinces  may  change.  We
      shall do justice to all communities and  give  them  full  freedom  in
      their social and religious affairs.


      The word 'people' means all the people. I am myself a servant  of  the
      farmers. To work with them is my highest glory. The  term  people'  is
      comprehensive and contains  all  the  people,  It  is,  therefore,  my
      opinion that no adjective should be attached to it.”
                                                            (emphasis added)


      On 15.8.1947, Dr. Rajendra Prasad addressed the  Constituent  Assembly
of India wherein he identified the roles of various sections of the  society
and the Government.  The English translation of the  address  is  reproduced
below:
      “Let us in this momentous hour of our history, when  we  are  assuming
      power  for  the  governance  of  our  country,  recall   in   grateful
      remembrance the services and sacrifices of all those who laboured  and
      suffered for the achievement of  the  independence  we  are  attaining
      today. Let us on this historic occasion pay our homage to the maker of
      our modern history, Mahatma Gandhi, who has  inspired  and  guided  us
      through all these years of trial and travail and who in spite  of  the
      weight of years is still working in his own way to  complete  what  is
      left yet unaccomplished.


      Let us gratefully acknowledge that while  our  achievement  is  in  no
      small measure due to our own sufferings, and sacrifices,  it  is  also
      the result of world forces and events and last though not least it  is
      the  consummation  and  fulfilment  of  the  historic  traditions  and
      democratic ideals of the British race  whose  farsighted  leaders  and
      statesmen saw the vision and gave the pledges which are being redeemed
      today. We are happy to have in our midst as a representative  of  that
      race Viscount Mountbatten of Burma and his  consort  who  have  worked
      hard and played such an important part in bringing this  about  during
      the closing scenes of this drama. The period of domination by  Britain
      over  India  ends  today  and  our  relationship   with   Britain   is
      henceforward going to rest on a basis of equality, of mutual  goodwill
      and mutual profit.


      It is undoubtedly a day of rejoicing. But there is  only  one  thought
      which mars and detracts from the fulness of this happy  event.  India,
      which was made by  God  and  Nature  to  be  one,  which  culture  and
      tradition and history of millenniums have made one, is  divided  today
      and many there are on the other side of the boundary  who  would  much
      rather be on this side. To them we send a word of cheer and  assurance
      and ask them not to give way to panic or  despair  but  to  live  with
      faith and courage in peace with their neighbours and fulfil the duties
      of loyal citizenship and thus win their rightful place.  We  send  our
      greetings to the new Dominion which is being established  today  there
      and wish it the best luck in its great work of governing  that  region
      and making all its citizens happy and prosperous. We feel assured that
      they all will be treated fairly and justly without any distinction  or
      discrimination. Let us hope and pray that the day will come when  even
      those who have insisted upon and  brought  about  this  division  will
      realise India's essential oneness and we shall be united  once  again.
      We must realise however that this can be brought about  not  by  force
      but by large heartedness and  co-operation  and  by  so  managing  our
      affairs on this side as to attract  those  who  have  parted.  It  may
      appear to be a dream but it is no more fantastic a dream than that  of
      those who wanted a division and may well be realised even sooner  than
      we dare hope for today.


      More than a day of rejoicing it is a day of dedication for all  of  us
      to build the India of our dreams. Let us turn our eyes away  from  the
      past and fix our gaze on the future. We have  no  quarrel  with  other
      nations and countries and let us hope no one will pick a quarrel  with
      us. By history and tradition we are a peaceful people and India wants,
      to be at peace with the world. India's Empire outside her own  borders
      has been of a different kind from all other Empires. India's conquests
      have been the conquests of spirit which did not impose heavy chains of
      slavery, whether of iron or of gold, on others but  tied  other  lands
      and other peoples to her with the more enduring ties of golden silk—of
      culture and civilisation, of religion and knowledge (gyan).  We  shall
      follow that same tradition and shall have no  ambition  save  that  of
      contributing our little mite to the building of peace and freedom in a
      war-distracted world by holding aloft the banner under which  we  have
      marched to victory and placing in a practical manner in the  hands  of
      the world the great weapon of Non-violence  which  has  achieved  this
      unique result. India has a great part to play. There is  something  in
      her life and culture which has enabled her to survive  the  onslaughts
      of time and today we witness a new birth full of promise, if  only  we
      prove ourselves true to our ideals.


      Let us resolve  to  create  conditions  in  this  country  when  every
      individual will be free and provided with the wherewithal  to  develop
      and rise  to  his  fullest  stature,  when  poverty  and  squalor  and
      ignorance and ill-health will  have  vanished,  when  the  distinction
      between high and low, between rich and poor,  will  have  disappeared,
      when religion will not only be professed and  preached  and  practised
      freely but will have become a cementing force for binding man  to  man
      and not serve as  a  disturbing  and  disrupting  force  dividing  and
      separating, when untouchability  will  have  been  forgotten  like  an
      unpleasant night dream, when exploitation of  man  by  man  will  have
      ceased, when  facilities  and  special  arrangements  will  have  been
      provided for the adimjatis  of  India  and  for  all  others  who  are
      backward, to enable them to catch up to others and when this land will
      have not only enough food to feed its teeming millions but  will  once
      again have become a land flowing with rivers of  milk,  when  men  and
      women will be laughing and working for all they are  worth  in  fields
      and factories, when every cottage and hamlet will be humming with  the
      sweet music of village handicrafts and maids will be  busy  with  them
      and singing to their tune—when the sun and the moon will be shining on
      happy homes and loving faces.


      To bring all this about we need all the idealism  and  sacrifice,  all
      the intelligence and diligence, all the determination and the power of
      organisation that we can muster. We have many parties and groups  with
      differing ideals and ideologies. They are all trying  to  convert  the
      country to their own ideologies and to mould the constitution and  the
      administration to suit their own view point. While they have the right
      to do so, the country and the nation have the right to demand  loyalty
      from them. All must realise that what is needed most today is a  great
      constructive effort—not strife, hard solid work—not argumentation, and
      let us hope that all will be prepared to make their  contribution.  We
      want the peasant to grow more food, we want  the  workers  to  produce
      more goods, we want our industrialists to use their intelligence, tact
      and resourcefulness for  the  common  good.  To  all  we  must  assure
      conditions of decent and healthy  life  and  opportunities  for  self-
      improvement and self-realisation.


      Not only have the people to dedicate themselves  to  this  great  task
      that lies ahead but those who have so far been  playing  the  role  of
      rulers and regulators of the lives of our men and women have to assume
      the role of servants. Our army has won undying glory in distant  lands
      for its bravery and great fighting qualities.  Our  soldiers,  sailors
      and airmen have to realise that they now form a national army on  whom
      devolves the duty not only of defending the freedom which we have  won
      but also to help in a constructive way in  building  up  a  new  life.
      There is no place in the armed forces of our country which is not open
      to our people, and what is more they are required to take the  highest
      places as soon as they can so that they may take full  charge  of  our
      defences. Our public servants in  various  departments  of  Government
      have to shed their role as rulers and have to become true servants  of
      the people that their compeers are in all free countries.  The  people
      and the Government on their side have to give  them  their  trust  and
      assure them conditions of service in keeping with  the  lives  of  the
      people in whose midst they have to live and serve.


      We welcome the Indian States which have acceded to India and to  their
      people we offer our hands of  comradeship.  To  the  princes  and  the
      rulers of the States we say that we have no designs against  them.  We
      trust they will follow the example of the King of England  and  become
      constitutional rulers. They would do well to take as their  model  the
      British monarchical system which has stood the shock of two successive
      world wars when so many other monarchies in Europe have toppled down.


      To Indians settled abroad in British Colonies and  elsewhere  we  send
      our good wishes  and  assurance  of  our  abiding  interest  in  their
      welfare. To our minorities  we  give  the  assurance  that  they  will
      receive fair and just treatment and their rights will be respected and
      protected.


      One of the great tasks which we  have  in  hand  is  to  complete  the
      constitution under which not only will freedom and liberty be  assured
      to each and all but which will enable us to  achieve  and  attain  and
      enjoy its fulfilment and its fruits. We must accomplish this  task  as
      soon as possible so that we  may  begin  to  live  and  work  under  a
      constitution of our own making, of which we  may  all  be  proud,  and
      which it may become our pride and privilege to defend and to  preserve
      to the lasting good of our people and for the service of  mankind.  In
      framing that constitution we shall naturally draw upon the  experience
      and knowledge of other countries and nations no less than on  our  own
      traditions and surroundings and may have at  times  to  disregard  the
      lines drawn by recent history and lay down new boundary lines not only
      of Provinces but also of distribution of  powers  and  functions.  Our
      ideal is to have a constitution that will enable the people's will  to
      be expressed and enforced and that will not only secure liberty to the
      individual but also reconcile and make that liberty subservient to the
      common good.


      We have up to now been taking a pledge  to  achieve  freedom  and  to,
      undergo all sufferings and sacrifices for it. Time has  come  when  we
      have to take a pledge of another kind. Let no  one  imagine  that  the
      time for work and sacrifice is gone and  the  time  for  enjoying  the
      fruits thereof has come.  Let  us  realise  that  the  demand  on  our
      enthusiasm and capacity for unselfish work in the future  will  be  as
      great as, if not greater than, what it has ever been before. We  have,
      therefore, to dedicate ourselves once again to the  great  cause  that
      beckons us. The task is great, the times are propitious. Let  us  pray
      that we may have the strength, the wisdom and the  courage  to  fulfil
      it.”


                                        (emphasis added)



      Both the leaders, who were visionaries of the time, laid  emphasis  on
the need for ensuring equality among all, abolition of  distinction  between
high and low, between rich and poor  and  change  of  the  role  of  various
segments of governance  and also the need  for  protecting  the  dignity  of
every individual.
      When we achieved independence in 1947, India  was  a  baby  aiming  to
grow to become one of the respected members  of  the  world  community.  The
leaders of Independence movement undertook an onerous task  of  framing  the
Constitution for the country.  They studied  the  Constitutions  of  various
countries and adopted their best  provisions  for  creating  an  egalitarian
society with the aim of ensuring justice, - social, economic and  political,
various types of  freedoms,  equality  of  opportunity  and  of  status  and
ensuring  dignity  of  every  individual.   During  the  drafting   of   the
Constitution, the Preliminary notes on  Fundamental  Rights  issued  by  the
Constitutional Advisor, B.N. Rau,  specifically  dealt  with  the  issue  of
equality  using  examples  from  various  Constitutions  to  emphasize   its
importance.   One of the issues highlighted in the  note  was  that  if  the
instinct of power is concentrated in few individuals then  naked  greed  for
power will destroy the basics of democratic principles.  But, what  we  have
done in the last four decades would shock  the  most  established  political
systems.  The best political and executive practices have been distorted  to
such an extent that they do not even look  like  distant  cousins  of  their
original forms.  The  best  example  of  this  is  the  use  of  symbols  of
authority  including  the   red   lights   on   the   vehicles   of   public
representatives from the  lowest  to  the  highest  and  civil  servants  of
various cadres.  The red lights symbolize power and a stark  differentiation
between those who are allowed to use it and the ones who are not.   A  large
number of those using vehicles with red lights have no respect for the  laws
of the country and they treat the ordinary citizens with contempt.  The  use
of red lights on the vehicles of public representatives and  civil  servants
has perhaps no parallel in the world democracies.
      For deciding the questions framed by Shri Salve, it will be useful  to
notice Section 70 of the Motor Vehicles Act,  1939  (for  short,  ‘the  1939
Act’), Sections 109, 110 and 111 of the 1989 Act and Rules  108,  108-A  and
119 of the 1989 Rules. The same read as under:

      Section 70 of the 1939 Act:


      “Power to  make  rules  –  (1)  A  State  Government  may  make  rules
      regulating  the  construction,  equipment  and  maintenance  of  motor
      vehicles and trailers (with respect to  all  matters  other  than  the
      matters referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) of sub-section (1)  of
      Section 69-B.


      (2)   Without prejudice to the  generality  of  the  foregoing  power,
      rules may be made under this section governing any  of  the  following
      matters, either generally in respect of motor vehicles or trailers  or
      in respect of motor vehicles or trailers of a particular class  or  in
      particular circumstances namely-


      (a)         x    x     x     x


      (b)seating arrangements in public service vehicles and the  protection
      of passengers against the weather;


      (c)         x    x     x     x


      (d) brakes and steering gear;


      (e) the use of safety glass;


      (f)signaling appliances, lamps and reflectors;


      (g) speed governors;


      (h) the emission of smoke, visible vapour, sparks, ashes, grit or oil;


      (i) the reduction of noise emitted by or caused by vehicles;


      (j)prohibiting or restricting the use of audible  signals  at  certain
      times or in certain places;


      (k) prohibiting the carrying of appliances likely to  cause  annoyance
      or danger;


      (l) the periodical testing and inspection of  vehicles  by  prescribed
      authorities;


      (m) the particulars other than registration marks to be  exhibited  by
      vehicles and the manner in which they shall be exhibited; and


      (n) the use of trailers with motor vehicles.”




      Sections 109, 110 and 111 of the 1988 Act:


      “Section 109. General provision regarding construction and maintenance
      of vehicles – (1) Every motor vehicle shall be so constructed  and  so
      maintained as to be at all times under the effective  control  of  the
      person driving the vehicle.


      (2) Every motor vehicle shall be so constructed as to have right  hand
      steering control unless it is equipped with a mechanical or electrical
      signaling device of a prescribed nature.


      (3) If the Central Government is of the opinion that it  is  necessary
      or expedient so to do in public interest, it may by order published in
      the Official Gazette, notify that any article or  process  used  by  a
      manufacturer shall conform to such standard as  may  be  specified  in
      that order.


      Section 110. Power of Central Government to make rules. –


      (1) The Central Government may make rules regulating the construction,
      equipment and maintenance of motor vehicles and trailers with  respect
      to all or any of the following matters, namely :-


      (a) the width, height, length and overhand  of  vehicles  and  of  the
      loads carried;


      (b) the size, nature, maximum retail price  and  condition  of  tyres,
      including embossing thereon of date and year of manufacture,  and  the
      maximum load carrying capacity;


      (c) brakes and steering gear;


      (d) the use of safety glasses including  prohibition  of  the  use  of
      tinted
      safety glasses;


      (e) signalling appliances, lamps and reflectors;


      (f) speed governors;


      (g) the emission of smoke, visible vapour, sparks, ashes, grit or oil;


      (h) the reduction of noise emitted by or caused by vehicles;




      (i) the embossment of chassis number and engine number and the date of
      manufacture;


      (j) safety belts, handle bars or motor cycles, auto-dippers and  other
      equipment’s essential for safety of drivers, passengers and other road
      user.


      (k) standards of the components used in the vehicle as inbuilt  safety
      devices;


      (l) provision for transportation of goods of  dangerous  or  hazardous
      nature to human life;


      (m) standards for emission of air pollutants;


      (n) installation of catalytic convertors in the class of  vehicles  to
      be prescribed;


      (o) the placement of audio-visual or radio or tape  recorder  type  of
      devices in public vehicles;


      (p) warranty after sale of vehicle and norms therefore:


      Provided that any rules relating  to  the  matters  dealing  with  the
      protection of environment, so far as  may  be,  shall  be  made  after
      consultation with the Ministry of the Government of India dealing with
      environment.


      (2) Rules may be made under  sub-section  (1)  governing  the  matters
      mentioned therein, including the manner  of  ensuring  the  compliance
      with such matters and the maintenance of motor vehicles in respect  of
      such matters,  either  generally  in  respect  of  motor  vehicles  or
      trailers or in respect of motor vehicles or trailers of  a  particular
      class or in particular circumstances.


      (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, -


      (a) the Central Government may exempt any class of motor vehicles from
      the provisions of this Chapter;


      (b) a State Government may exempt any motor vehicle or  any  class  or
      description of motor vehicles from the rules  made  under  sub-section
      (1) subject to such conditions as may be  prescribed  by  the  Central
      Government.


      Section 111.Power of State Government to make  rules  –  (1)  A  State
      Government may make rules regulating the construction,  equipment  and
      maintenance of motor vehicles and trailers with respect to all matters
      other than the matters specified in sub-section (1) of section 110.


      (2)Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing  power,  rules
      may be made under this section governing all or any of  the  following
      matters either generally in respect of motor vehicles or  trailers  or
      in respect of motor vehicles or trailers  of  a  particular  class  or
      description or in particular circumstances, namely:-


        a)  seating  arrangements  in  public  service  vehicles  and   the
           protection of passengers against the weather;

        b) prohibiting or restricting the use of audible signals at certain
           times or in certain places;
        c) prohibiting the carrying of appliances likely to cause annoyance
           or danger;

        d) the periodical testing and inspection of vehicles by  prescribed
           authorities (and fees to be charged for such test);

        e) the particulars other than registration marks to be exhibited by
           vehicles and the manner in which they shall be exhibited;

        f) the use of trailers with motor vehicles; and

      (g)   x     x    x     x”


      Rules 108, 108-A and 119 of the 1989 Rules:


      “108. Use of red, white or blue light.—(1) No motor vehicle shall show
      a red light to the front or light other than red to rear:


      Provided that the provisions of this rule shall not apply to—


      (i) the internal lighting of the vehicle; or


      (ii) the amber light, if displayed by any direction indicator  or  top
      light or as top  light  used  on  vehicle  for  operating  within  the
      premises like airports, ports without going outside the said  premises
      on to public roads;


      (iii) a vehicle carrying high dignitaries as specified by the  Central
      Government or the State Government, as the case may be, from  time  to
      time;


      (iv) the blinker type of red light with  purple  glass  fitted  to  an
      ambulance van used for carrying patients; or


      (v) to a vehicle having a lamp fitted with an electrical bulb, if  the
      power of the bulb does not exceed seven watts and the lamp  is  fitted
      with frosted glass or any other  material  which  has  the  effect  of
      diffusing the light;


      (vi) white light illuminating the rear number plate;


      (vii) white light used while reversing;


      (viii) plough light provided in agricultural tractors for illuminating
      the implement's working area  on  the  ground  in  agricultural  field
      operations.




      (2) Use of blue light with flasher shall be determined and notified by
      the State Governments at their discretion;


      (3) Use of blue light with or without flasher shall  be  permitted  as
      top light on vehicles escorting high dignitaries entitled to  the  use
      of red light;


      (4) Use of multi-coloured red, blue and white light shall be permitted
      only on vehicles specifically  designated  for  emergency  duties  and
      shall be specifically specified by State Governments;


      (5) The State Government shall inform the Central Government regarding
      publication of notifications issued by the concerned State  Government
      under sub-rule (2) and under clause (e) of the Notification  No.  S.O.
      52(E), dated 11th January, 2002, published in the  Gazette  of  India,
      Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, regarding use of red light on
      top of vehicle being used by dignitaries;


      (6) In case vehicle is not carrying dignitaries, red or blue light, as
      the case may be, light shall not be  used  and  be  covered  by  black
      cover.


      108-A.  Use  of  red  or  white  light   on   construction   equipment
      vehicles.—No construction equipment vehicle shall show a red light  to
      the front or light other than red to the rear:


      Provided that the provision of this rule shall not apply to:—


      (i) the internal lighting of the vehicle;
      (ii) the amber light, if displayed by any direction indicator  or  top
      light;


      (iii) white light illuminating the rear or  side  registration  number
      plate;


      (iv) white light used while reversing;


      (v) light provided for illuminating the implement's  working  area  on
      the ground in off-highway or construction operations.


      119. Horns.—(1) On and after expiry of  one  year  from  the  date  of
      commencement of the Central Motor Vehicles  (Amendment)  Rules,  1999,
      every  motor  vehicle,  agricultural   tractor,   power   tiller   and
      construction equipment vehicle manufactured shall be  fitted  with  an
      electric horn or other devices conforming to the requirements  of  IS:
      1884—1992, specified by the Bureau of Indian Standards for use by  the
      driver of the vehicle and capable of  giving  audible  and  sufficient
      warning of the approach or position of the vehicle:


      Provided that on and from 1st January,  2003,  the  horn  installation
      requirements for motor vehicle shall be as per AIS-014 specifications,
      as may be amended from time to time, till such time  as  corresponding
      Bureau of Indian Standards specifications are notified.


      (2) No motor vehicle including agricultural tractor  shall  be  fitted
      with any multi-toned horn giving a succession of  different  notes  or
      with any other sound-producing device giving an unduly harsh,  shrill,
      loud or alarming noise.


      (3) Nothing contained  in  sub-rule  (2)  shall  prevent  the  use  on
      vehicles used as ambulance or for fire fighting or salvage purposes or
      on vehicles used by  police  officers  or  operators  of  construction
      equipment vehicles or officers of the Motor Vehicles Department in the
      course of their duties or on construction equipment vehicles  of  such
      sound signals as may be approved by the registering authority in whose
      jurisdiction such vehicles are kept.”



      In exercise of the power vested in it  under  proviso  (iii)  to  Rule
108(1) of the 1989 Rules, the  Central  Government  issued  Notification  SO
52(E) dated 11.01.2002 which was amended by Notification  SO  1070(E)  dated
28.7.2005.  The same reads as under:
      “(a)  red light with flasher on the top front of the vehicle, while on
      duty anywhere in the country-


        1) President,
        2) Vice-President
        3) Prime Minister
        4) Former Presidents
        5) Deputy Prime Minister
        6) Chief Justice of India
        7) Speaker of Lok Sabha
        8) Cabinet Ministers of the Union
        9) Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission
       10) Former Prime Ministers
       11) Leaders of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha
       12) Judges of the Supreme Court.

      (b)   red light without flasher on the top front of the vehicle, while
           on duty anywhere in the country-


        1) Chief Election Commissioner
        2) Comptroller and Auditor General of India
        3) Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha
        4) Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha
        5) Ministers of the State of the Union
        6) Members of the Planning Commission
        7) Attorney General of India
        8) Cabinet Secretary
        9) Chiefs of Staff of the three services holding the rank  of  full
           General or equivalent rank
       10) Deputy Ministers of the Union
       11) Officiating Chiefs of Staff or the three  services  holding  the
           rank of Lt. General or equivalent rank
       12) Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal
       13) Chairman, Minorities Commission
       14) Chairman, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission
       15) Chairman, Union Public Service Commission

      (c)  Any  vehicle  carrying  the  dignitary  formally  designated   as
      equivalent  in  rank,  status  and  privileges  to  those  dignitaries
      referred to in Items (a) and (b) above shall be entitled  to  use  the
      red light as per the corresponding privileges. The  vehicles  carrying
      the dignitaries assigned rank in  their  personal  capacities  by  the
      Ministry of Home Affairs shall be entitled to use red light as per the
      corresponding privileges assigned to those dignitaries referred to  in
      items (a) and (b) above.


      (d)In case the vehicle fitted with red  light  on  top  front  is  not
      carrying the dignitaries, then such red light shall not be used and be
      covered by a black cover.


      (e) The State Governments and Union  Territory  Administrations  shall
      issue similar notifications on the use of red light in respect of high
      dignitaries  of   their   State   Governments   or   Union   Territory
      Administrations, such as Governor, Lt.Governor, Chief Minister,  Chief
      Justices and Judges of High  Courts,  Chairman,  Speaker  and  Cabinet
      Ministers of State/Union Territory Legislatures, etc., as the case may
      be.”
                                                            (emphasis added)


      We shall first deal with the issue of  use  of  multi-toned  horns  in
violation of Rule 119 of the 1989 Rules and the corresponding  Rules  framed
by the State Governments and the Administration of  the  Union  Territories.
Since the learned Solicitor General and  the  Additional  Solicitor  General
are in agreement with the learned Amicus that the prohibition  contained  in
Rule 119(2)  on  the  use  of  multi-toned  horns  giving  a  succession  of
different notes or with any other sound producing device  giving  an  unduly
harsh, shrill, loud or alarming noise is absolute  with  certain  exceptions
specified in sub-rule (3), the  only  thing  required  to  be  done  by  the
Central and the State Governments is to implement  the  prohibition  in  its
letter and spirit.  Their failure to do so  for  last  almost  24  years  is
inexplicable. The contemptuous disregard to the  prohibition  by  people  in
power, holders of public offices, civil servants and even ordinary  citizens
is again reflective of ‘Raj Mentality’ and is antithesis of the  concept  of
a Republic.  We feel that the only possible remedy to  curb  the  menace  of
use of multi-toned horns is to impose exemplary fine on  the  violators  and
ensure its rigorous enforcement by the concerned authorities and agencies.
      On the issue of use of vehicles with red lights, we were  inclined  to
agree with Shri Harish Salve, learned Amicus that use of signs  and  symbols
of authority such as red lights, etc., is  contrary  to  the  constitutional
ethos  and  the  basic  feature  of  republicanism,   but,   on   a   deeper
consideration, we have felt persuaded  to  accept  the  submissions  of  the
learned Solicitor General and the  Additional  Solicitor  General  that  the
term “high dignitaries” used in proviso (iii) to Rule  108(1)  of  the  1989
Rules would take  within  its  fold  various  constitutional  functionaries,
i.e., holders of the  constitutional  offices.  
When  the  framers  of  the
Constitution  have  considered  it  appropriate  to  treat  those  occupying
constitutional positions as a special category, there is no reason  for  the
Court to exclude them from the ambit of the term  “high  dignitaries”.  
The
use of red lights on the vehicles carrying  the  holders  of  constitutional
posts will in no manner compromise with the dignity of  other  citizens  and
individuals or embolden them to  think  that  they  are  superior  to  other
people, more so, because this distinction would be available  to  them  only
while on duty and would be co-terminus  with  their  tenure.  
However,  the
Governments of most of the States and Administration  of  Union  Territories
have framed rules and issued notifications allowing use  of  red  lights  on
the  vehicles  carrying  large  number   of   persons   other   than   “high
dignitaries”.
They have also used the power  of  issuing  notifications  to
enlarge the list of the persons entitled to use red lights with  or  without
flashers whether on duty or otherwise.  Most of these notifications are  far
beyond the  scope  of  clause  ‘c’  of  Notifications  dated  11.1.2002  and
28.7.2005  issued  by  the  Central  Government.
It  also  deserves  to  be
mentioned that there has been abysmal failure on the part of  the  concerned
authorities  and   agencies   of   various   State   Governments   and   the
Administration of the Union Territories to  check  misuse  of  the  vehicles
with red lights on their top.  So much so that a  large  number  of  persons
are using red lights on their vehicles for committing  crimes  in  different
parts of the country and  they  do  so  with  impunity  because  the  police
officials are mostly scared of checking vehicles with red  lights,  what  to
say of imposing fine or penalty.
      In the result, we hold as under:
1.    The term “high dignitaries” used in proviso (iii) to  Rule  108(1)  of
      the 1989 Rules takes within its fold the  holders  of  various  posts,
      positions and offices specified in the Constitution.

2.    The motor  vehicles  carrying  “high  dignitaries”  specified  by  the
      Central Government and  their  counterparts  specified  by  the  State
      Government may be fitted with red lights but the red  lights  with  or
      without flasher can be used only while the specified high dignitary is
      on duty and not otherwise.

3.    The State Governments and Administration of Union  Territories  cannot
      enlarge the scope of  the  term  “high  dignitaries”  beyond  what  is
      prescribed in clauses ‘c’ and ‘d’ of Notifications dated 11.1.2002 and
      28.7.2005 issued by the Central  Government.   Therefore,  they  shall
      amend the relevant rules and notifications to bring them in tune  with
      the 1989 Rules and notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2002  issued
      by the Central Government. This exercise must be  completed  within  a
      period of three months.

4.    The men in uniform; operational  agencies  which  require  un-hindered
      access to the roads for performance of their duty;  those  engaged  in
      emergency duties such as ambulance services, fire services,  emergency
      maintenance etc, and police vehicles used as escorts or pilots or  for
      law and order duties shall not be entitled  to  have  red  lights  but
      lights of other colours, e.g., blue, white, multicoloured etc.

5.    No motor vehicles except those specified in Rule 119(3)  of  the  1989
      Rules or similar provisions contained in the rules framed by the State
      Governments or the Administration of Union Territories shall be fitted
      with multi-toned horns giving a succession of different notes or  with
      any other sound producing device giving an unduly harsh, shrill,  loud
      or alarming noise.

6.    The police officers and other authorities entrusted with the  task  of
      enforcing the  provisions  of  the  1988  Act  and  the  Rules  framed
      thereunder must discharge their duties without any fear or favour  and
      should impose appropriate penalty on those who violate the prohibition
      contained in Rule 108(1) and Rule 119 and similar rules framed by  the
      State Governments and the Administration  of  Union  Territories.  The
      owners/users of the vehicles fitted with multi-toned horns other  than
      those allowed to use such horns under Rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or
      corresponding  rules  framed  by  the  State   Governments   and   the
      Administration of the Union Territories shall, within a period of  one
      month  from  today,  remove  the  multi-toned  horns.   The   officers
      authorised to enforce the provisions of the 1988  Act  and  the  rules
      framed thereunder by the Central Government, the State Governments and
      the Administration of Union Territories shall also ensure that  multi-
      toned horns are removed from all the vehicles except  those  specified
      in rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or corresponding rules framed by  the
      State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories.

7.    The Chief Secretaries of all the  States  and  the  Administrators  of
      Union Territories shall cause a notice  published  in  the  newspapers
      having wide circulation in  their  respective  States  and  the  Union
      Territories incorporating the directions contained in this order.

      In the note submitted by the learned Solicitor General,  it  has  been
mentioned that Clause 51  of  the  Motor  Vehicles  (Amendment)  Bill,  2012
contains a provision for imposition of enhanced penalty.  That amendment  is
not shown to have been carried out so far.   We  hope  and  trust  that  the
Legislature  will  make  appropriate  amendment  and  make   provision   for
imposition of adequate  penalty  which  may  operate  as  deterrent  against
misuse of the provisions of the 1989 Act and the 1989  Rules  generally  and
the provisions of Rules 108 and 119 in  particular.  The  State  Governments
and the Administration of the  Union  Territories  shall  either  amend  the
existing rules or frame appropriate rules for imposing deterrent penalty  on
the violators of the rules containing prohibition against  the  use  of  red
lights and multi-toned horns or similar devices.


                                        ……………………………………………J.
                                        [G.S. SINGHVI]




NEW DELHI;                        ………………………………………….J.
DECEMBER 10, 2013.                      [C. NAGAPPAN]






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