New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday banned the use of black films of any visible light transmission (VLT) percentage or any other material on the front and rear screens and windows of all vehicles throughout the country. The ban would be enforceable from May 4.
"We have no hesitation in holding that use of black films or any other material upon safety glass, windscreen and side windows is impermissible," a bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice A.K.Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Swatanter Kumar said: "Use of films or any other material upon the windscreen or the side windows is impermissible in law. It is the VLT of the safety glass without any additional material being pasted upon the safety glasses which must conform with manufacture specifications."
Having imposed the ban, the court directed that the "home secretary, director generals/commissioners of police of the respective states/centre shall ensure compliance with this direction".
The judgment noted that in terms of Rule 100(2) of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, 70 percent and 50 percent VLT standard are relatable to the manufacture of the safety glasses for the windshields (front and rear) and the side windows respectively.
The court said that practice of certain VIPs/VVIPs are using black films on their vehicles for security reasons is not supported by law, as no notification by the competent authority has been brought to its notice, giving exemption to such vehicles from the operation of Rule 100 or any of its provisions.
However, the court said: "Be that as it may, we do not wish to enter upon the arena of the security and safety measures when the police department and home ministry consider such exemption appropriate."
"The cases of the persons who have been provided with Z and Z+ security category may be considered by a committee consisting of the director general of police/commissioner of police of the concerned state and the home secretary of that state/centre", the judgment said.
The court said that it would be for that committee to examine such cases for grant of exemption in accordance with law and upon due application of mind. These certificates should be provided only in relation to official cars of VIPs/VVIPs, depending upon the category of security that such person has been awarded by the competent authority.
The court permitted that the appropriate government was free to make any regulations that it may consider appropriate in this regard.
However, the court said that the manufacturer of the vehicle may manufacture the vehicles with tinted glasses which have VLT of safety glass windscreen (front and rear) as 70 percent VLT and side glasses as 40 percent VLT, respectively. No black film or any other material can be pasted on the windscreens and side glasses of a vehicle.