By Suhas AR:
How many times have you been made to stop your car, only to let another with a ‘Lal Batti’ go past? Must have happened many times, and every single time we seethe in anger. The anger isn’t just of one person, but that of many common people across the country. The misuse of the lal batti became such a menace that the honorable Supreme Court had to take note of it. Take note it did. In a welcome observation, the SC observed that only those holding constitutional office and emergency services should be allowed to use beacon lights.
The Lal Batti as we know it, is something that has come down to us from pre independence. At that time, it used to be the Britishers who ruled us. Today, it’s politicians and VVIP’s who see themselves as rulers who make use of the Lal Batti. Unless they have a constitutional authority, why should a common man have to make way for MP’s, MLA’s etc. Are some people more equal than others?
The Red Beacon has become a status symbol and nothing else, it exemplifies a political culture that has been spoiled by the perks of office. It is something that needs to be done away with. It is a 3rd world country mindset at a time when we aspire to be a first world country.
People who are remotely connected to VVIP’s are found to blatantly misuse it. Often the kith and kin are found to use it for personal reasons when its use is meant for official purposes only. At the end of it all, it is you and me, the common citizen who has to bear the brunt of it.
In earlier proceedings on January 17, the bench had said: “Security can be given to the head of state, the Prime Minister, Vice President, Speaker, Chief Justice of India, the heads of constitutional authorities and similar counterparts in the states. But why are all and sundry given beacons and security? Even mukhias and sarpanchs use beacons.” It is time our VVIP’s paid heed to what the SC has to say.
While it was heartening to see the response of politicos like Omar Abdullah and Jay Panda who welcomed the move, it was equally frustrating to see many oppose it asking whether the Supreme Court had nothing more important to do! This is infact a very important ruling, one I hope will be a step towards seeing an end to the culture of perks and entitlements. The mentality of politicians being rulers has to go, they are here to serve the people.
It is time that we, as a society, saw Red at the Lal Batti!