Kerala HC decries illegal use of State emblem, flashlights on vehicles

Updated - July 11, 2024 07:17 pm IST

Published - July 11, 2024 07:15 pm IST - KOCHI

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the use of State emblem and flashlights by Ministers, Secretaries, District Collectors, Mayors and other government officials on their vehicles in violation of motor vehicles rules and the law relating to prohibition of the use of State emblem.

The Bench comprising Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice Harishankar V. Menon orally observed that only the President and certain constitutional functionaries such as Governor were legally permitted to use the State emblem on their vehicles.

The court orally observed that the State emblem could be seen on the vehicles used by the Customs and Income Tax departments as well. The office memorandum issued by the Central government stipulated that only the name of the departments could be displayed on such vehicles. They were using the emblem in violation of the law relating to the prohibition of the improper use of State emblem.

Besides, the District Collector, Mayor and Secretaires of various departments, police officers, including Inspector General of Police, were using flashlights on their official vehicles. 

The managing directors of certain public sector undertakings and Civil Supplies Corporation who belonged to the IAS/IPS were using the emblem and flashlight on grounds that they belonged to the IAS/IPS. 

The court pointed out that District Collectors could install flashlight on their vehicles only when they were on emergency duty. The court added that flashlights were now being used by secretaries and other officials because use of beacon light had been stopped.

Enforcement officers of the Motor Vehicles department were not in a position to take action against contract and good carriage vehicles fitted with flashlights and other unauthorised form of lights because of the unauthorised use by the higher government officials themselves.

Even vehicles with unauthorised name and State emblem could be seen parked on footpaths and pedestrian crossing, forcing pedestrians to walk on the roads. The court observed that those vehicles found to have made alterations should be intercepted and should not be returned. They should be scrapped.

The court made the oral observations when a case relating to providing amenities and facilities to Sabarimala pilgrims came up for hearing. The suo motu case registered in connection with the unauthorised use of nameboards and lights on vehicles will come up for hearing on July 12.

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