The law on motor vehicle beacons and flashers in India

==THIS ARTICLE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION==

What are beacons? What are flashers? What are sirens?

Who is authorised to use beacons / flashers / sirens on their vehicles?

Red light with flasher on the top front of vehicle, while on duty anywhere in the country:-

(i) President;
(ii) Vice President;
(iii) Prime Minister;
(iv) Former President;
(v) Deputy Prime Minister;
(vi) Chief Justice of India;
(vii) Speaker of the Lok Sabha;
(viii) Cabinet Ministers of the Union;
(ix) Deputy Chairman Planning Commission;
(x) Former Prime Ministers;
(xi) Leaders of Oppositions in the Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha;
(xii) Judges of the Supreme Court.

Red light without flasher on the top front of the vehicle, while on duty anywhere in the country:-
(i) Chief Election Commissioner;
(ii) Comptroller & Auditor General of India;
(iii) Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha;
(iv) Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha;
(v) Ministers of State of the Union;
(vi) Members of the Planning Commission;
(vii) Attorney Journal of India;
(viii) Cabinet Secretary;
(ix) Chiefs of Staff of the three Services holding the Rank of
full general or equivalent rank;
(x) Deputy Ministers of the Union;
(xi) Officiating Chiefs of Staff of the three services holding
the rank of Lt. General of equivalent rank.
(xii) Chairman Central Administrative Tribunal;
(xiii) Chairman Minorities Commission;
(xiv) Chairman, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Commission;
(xv) Chairman, Union Public Service Commission;
(xvi) Solicitor General of India.

Can the beacon be used when the Officer is not present in his vehicle?

No. 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.

Can I use a beacon on my vehicle?

Unless you are an officer authorised by the State or Central Government, you cannot use the beacon on your vehicle.

Can I keep the beacon on the dashboard of my vehicle?

No. You cannot keep the beacon on the dashboard of the vehicle, even if used by an authorized person, when not on duty. When not in use the beacon must be covered with a black cover.

Section 140 and 171 of the Indian Penal Code state that:

140. Wearing garb or carrying token used by soldier, sailor or airman —
Whoever, not being a soldier, sailor or airman, in the Military, Naval or Air service of the Government of India, wears any garb or carries any token resembling any garb or token used by such a soldier, sailor or airman with the intention that it may be believed that he is such a soldier, sailor or airman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

 

171. Wearing garb or carrying token used by public servant with fraudulent
intent —
Whoever, not belonging to a certain class of public servants, wears any garb or carries any token resembling any garb or token used by that class of public servants, with the intention that it may be believed, or with the knowledge that it is likely to be believed, that he belongs to that class of public servants, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.

 

Which law governs the use of beacons and flashers?

Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 Rule 108, which is extracted below:–

Use of red or white lights:– No motor 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 or

(ii) the amber light, if displayed by any direction indicator or top light;

(iii) a vehicle carrying high dignitaries as specified by the Central Government or the State Government from time to time or a vehicle escorting such vehicle;

(iv) the blinker type of red light with purple glass fitted to an ambulance van used for conveying 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.

 

Section 70 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1939 which is extracted below conferred the power on the State Government for making rules, inter alia, regarding signalling appliances, lamps and reflectors:–

“Power to make rules:– (a) A State Government may make Rules regulating the construction, equipment and maintenance of motor vehicles and trailers.

 

 

Notification no. S.O.52 (E) dated 11-01-2002 and S.O. 1070

(E) dated 28-07-2005 issued by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways,
Govt. of India, t

Where can I report misuse of a beacon?

What are the penalties for misusing a beacon?

 

Case laws

Red Light On The Cars Of The Hon’Ble … vs State Of U.P. on 5 April, 1993 AIR 1993 All 211

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