The division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj also wanted to know from the state on the number of prosecutions that have taken place for flouting the red and blue beacon rules. As per rules, police can prosecute people for misuse of beacons under section 419 IPC, impersonation, which can lead to a maximum three-year prison term.
During the hearing, lawyer Tarunjyoti Tiwari alleged in the court that police are slack in acting against this misuse. He questioned how political leaders could use beacon fitted cars. Appearing for the state, lawyer Biswabrata Basu Mullick said the state was implementing the Central guidelines on this. Police, he said, are implementing it. At this point, Chief Justice Shrivastava asked about action being taken in the complaints of beacon misuse.
On Tuesday, the state government submitted a report on this.
The Bengal transport department had in July 2021 notified who could use these beacons. The order followed police raids on illegal users. There, however, emerged certain issues for which the police have sought clarity from the state transport department. There were certain differences in the central notification, which was reissued by the state in 2021, and the state norms. The state norms mandate that a formal list will be released by the transport department every year on who can use beacons. This also had to be displayed in the front of vehicles along with vehicle number and designation of official. Till it is issued every year, police prosecutions can be legally questioned.
According to sources in Jorabagan and headquarter traffic guards, which nabbed maximum offenders last year, most of the offenders were found to be cars taken on rent for government offices. In all, 370 beacons were pulled down.
Police had also written to 53 offices of the state and central governments in the city to comply with the beacon rules issued by the Bengal government.
A PIL was earlier filed in the high court in which the petitioner had questioned as to how a district political leader could use red beacon-fitted car when the elected MLAs and MPs are not allowed to do so.