The fascination for beacon light on their vehicles has caught up with the Members of Parliament, prompting the House Committee of the Rajya Sabha to recommend that the lawmakers be allowed such a facility.
The 15-member house panel has sent a recommendation to this effect to the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, stating that MPs merited use of red beacon on account of their prominence as people's representatives.
In its communication to the Ministry, the committee headed by Rajya Sabha member J P Aggarwal sought to know why Parliamentarians were not allowed to use the facility that is extended to the top notch of states and the Union government.
The use of beacon light, which is seen as a status symbol, is till now restricted to a select category of people from politics, judiciary, executive and legislature.
"We asked the ministry to state the grounds on which usage of red beacon was allowed and on what grounds lawmakers were not allowed to use it," Aggarwal told PTI.
Batting for 795 Parliamentarians, he said the MPs wanted to put red beacon on their vehicles on account of the nature of their work.
"What is the purpose of a red beacon? It denotes that the person is important and it is essential for him or her to get smooth passage," Aggarwal said.
The ministry, which is understood to be reluctant, is yet to reply to the Committee's recommendation.
Among those who can use red beacon with flasher are President, Vice President, Prime Minister, former Presidents former Prime Ministers, Chief Justice of India, Lok Sabha Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Leader of Opposition in both Houses of Parliament and Supreme Court judges.
Red beacon without flasher can be used by dignitaries like Comptroller and Auditor General, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, Ministers of State, Members of Planning Commission, Attorney General, Cabinet Secretary, chiefs of three services and deputy ministers.
Justifying the recommendation, Aggarwal said MPs have to visit their constituencies that are spread over large areas and 'it is important to have red beacon on our vehicles for identification purposes.'
He said even Sub-Divisional Magistrates and senior police officials had the privilege to use beacon. "So why should MPs, who are elected by the people, not get the right to use it," he questioned.
The Rajya Sabha MP said as per the original list approved by the Government of India, MPs were also allowed the use of red beacon, but they were then knocked off the list as a category by the ministry.
"The ministry now has to tell us how MPs were excluded from this list. We are waiting for its reply," Aggarwal said.
The ministry had come out with a notification in February, 2002, enlisting the dignitaries who could use the facility.The fresh notification was issued after the attack on Parliament in which terrorists used an Ambassador car with beacon light to gain access to the high-security complex.