They argue that tints provide respite from the harsh sun

The ‘Operation Black Film’, launched by traffic police three days back to curb the use of dark film tints on car glasses, has generated a heated debate among motorists.

Police claim they are cracking the whip against rule violators irrespective of their official or social status, but angry motorists have cited several examples of how the traffic police turn a Nelson’s eye towards their own department vehicles, government vehicles or those that ply in posh areas. The oft-repeated observation in the social media is that the police are not enforcing this rule in respect of the high and mighty.

This observation apart, motorists are at a loss when it comes to understanding the rationale behind not using any tinted film conforming to the transparency standards as specified in the Motor Vehicle Rules.

Rule 100 of Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 says that Visual Light Transmission (VLT) level should be at 50 per cent for the window glasses and 70 per cent for the front and rear windscreens. Motor Vehicle Rules are, however, silent on the usage of film or otherwise. It also specifies that only ‘safety glass’, manufactured according to the stipulated ‘standards’, be used to ensure the safety of passengers.

The question that is being raised by motorists here is that how could the police insist that they should not use any type of film, even if it conforms to the VLT levels as stipulated in the rules?

The police insistence is based on a judgment of the Supreme Court. Responding to a petition filed before it seeking a ban on the use of ‘any type of tinted film’ on vehicle safety glass, the apex court noted on April 27, 2012, that Rule 100 allowed safety glass with permissible VLT percentages (of 70 and 50). However, since the rules do not mention anything about the use of tinted film, it felt VLT levels must be maintained in the glass itself, meaning the glass at the time of manufacture must maintain the levels.

However, very few vehicle-makers are fitting the cars with tinted safety glasses with permissible VLT levels. As a result, the vehicle owners prefer to add tinted films. Their argument is that the tints provide some respite from the harsh sun.

The film cuts down the heat transmission thereby improving the air-conditioning efficiency, especially during summers.

Without the tints they would have to use air-conditioning more often. “This will lead to more fuel being burnt,” they point out.

Some motorists also wonder whether the public representatives would address this problem in the Parliament. “Since it is the prerogative of the Parliament to amend the language of a rule, it would be prudent for our representatives to bring an amendment rather than just obtain permissions for themselves,” a motorist said.

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