New Delhi: People hate red lights, the Supreme Court said Wednesday, hoping that some day they will be spared of the VIP escort cars, except that of constitutional functionaries, passing by them with their sirens blaring.
"Some time it will happen today or tomorrow," an apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Kurien Joseph said, pointing out that the problem of people being at the receiving end of VIP security was rooted in the carving out of "exceptions, exemptions and regularisation".
"We can tell you without fear of contradiction that people hate red lights," said Justice Singhvi, adding that vehicles of those who use beacon lights unauthorisedly should be confiscated instead of being challaned.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition related to illegal use of beacon lights.
"Our problem is rooted in exception, exemption and regularisation. If we don't have these regularisation then problem will be taken care of," said Justice Singhvi.
Describing putting up of beacon lights and blowing of sirens as a "status symbol", the court said that besides constitutional functionaries, it was the "ambulances, fire services, police and army who are in need for red lights. Rest can be excluded and there is no need for our orders".
"If you do it (withdraw the beacon lights of unauthorised users), it will hurt the feelings of some," the court said.
The court was told that the Delhi government permitted the use of beacon lights and blowing of sirens for 29 categories of people that among others included constitutional authorities and the judges of higher judiciary.
Amicus curiae Harish Salve told the court there was huge gap in the sanctioned strength and the actual strength of police in states, especially Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
He urged the court to consider three broad aspects whether the use of beacon lights, and sirens by people other than the high constitutional functionaries was lawful and constitutional.
He asked the court to address the question whether provision of security to people other than the constitutional functionaries without a corresponding increase in the strength of police and without specific assessment of threat (to them) was lawful and constitutional.
The court would continue the proceedings Thursday.