Officials of the Regional Transport Office (RTO) claim there is growing demand from MLAs and VIPs for relaxation of the rule on tinted car windowpanes under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, which states that visibility through the glass of the side windows should be at least 50 per cent.
Citing security and privacy issues, many political leaders have approached the transport department of the state government for granting of special permission to them to sport completely dark windowpanes.
Panel to decide
Transport officials have now appointed a committee to consider the applications from VIPs on the issue. After a petition on prohibition of dark windowpanes in cars, the Supreme Court had ordered the RTOs and the police to take strict action against vehicles sporting tinted glass that crossed the permitted limit.
“After the order, we have started taking serious action,” Senior Police Inspector (Traffic Planning) Mahadev Gawade said. “In the last three months, we have taken action on a total of 5,637 vehicles, both commercial and private. We charged Rs 100 fine and scratched the pasted tinted film from the windowpanes. We have four tint meters to evaluate the darkness.”
According to Rule Number 100 under the Central Motor Vehicle Act 1988, the visibility of the glass for side windows should be 50 per cent and for the windshield it should be 70 per cent.
Many political leaders and Class I officers demanded a concession for them by sending a letter to the Director General of Police (DGP) and the state government, which formed the committee to look into the demand.
“The person concerned should send an application for exemption from the rule to this committee,” Regional Transport Officer Arun Yeola said. “The committee will look into whether the applicant has a security threat or not. If the committee finds the applicant is genuine and really needs the concession, then it can give permission for dark tinted glass.”
The committee has four members and a president. The DGP, the Chief Secretary (Transport), the Commissioner of Police (Bruhan Mumbai), the Deputy Secretary (Poll) are the members while the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) is the president of the committee.
RTO officials said in the meantime MLAs from the city were clamouring for their demand to be met. “There is no definition about VIP and VVIP,” a senior RTO officer said. “It is a relative term. It is difficult to classify these VIPs. We don’t understand why they need tinted glasses and for what purpose?”
Legislators who prefer transparency
>> BJP MLA Girish Bapat said he was against any relaxation in rules for politicians. “All political leaders should be treated as common people,” he said. “We are completely against this demand. MLAs and MPs are elected by the people and they should be constantly in contact with the people. I don’t understand what these applicants want to do behind the dark glass?”
>> Shiv Sena MLA Chandrakant Mokate also supported Bapat’s stand and said he was against special treatment for VIPs. “I think rules should be the same for everyone,” he said. “Fifty per cent visibility is enough for privacy and we don’t want to hide anything from the people. I have not applied for the tinted glass.”
>> Congress MLC Mohan Joshi said if the concession was to be be granted at all, it should be only for reasons of security and not privacy. “The concession should not be given for the reason of privacy,” he said. “But in the last few months, because of some terrorist attacks, the security scenario is changing. Many leaders may have demanded for the concession as a precaution, and this should be considered.”