cpc

supreme court prohibits black films

ADVISOR

 

                                                                    1

                                         REPORTABLE
            IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
              CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION


         WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 265 OF 2011


Avishek Goenka                                     ... Petitioner
                            Versus
Union of India & Anr.                          ... Respondents



                        JUDGMENT



Swatanter Kumar, J.


1.   Alarming rise in heinous crimes like kidnapping, s*xual

assault on women and dacoity have impinged upon the right

to life and the right to live in a safe environment which are

within the contours of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

One of the contributory factors to such increase is use of

black films on windows/windshields of four-wheeled vehicles.

The petitioner, as a public spirited person, has invoked the

extra-ordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of the

Constitution in the present public interest litigation, praying

for certain directions to stop this menace.    According to the

petitioner, this Court should issue a writ or direction requiring

use of such safety glasses on the windows/windshields in
                                                                     2

vehicles having 100 per cent Visual Light Transmission (for

short `VLT') only and, to that extent, the petitioner challenges

the correctness of Rule 100 of the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989

(for short "the Rules"). He also prays for prohibition on use of

black   films   on   the   glasses   of   the   vehicles,   proper

implementation of law in that behalf and finally, for taking

stringent actions against the offenders, using vehicles with

black filmed glasses. He also prays that a larger police force

should be deputed to monitor such offences.


2.   The use of black films upon the vehicles gives immunity

to the violators in committing a crime and is used as a tool of

criminality, considerably increasing criminal activities.       At

times, heinous crimes like dacoity, rape, murder and even

terrorist acts are committed in or with the aid of vehicles

having black films pasted on the side windows and on the

screens of the vehicles.    It is stated that because of non-

observance of the norms, regulations and guidelines relating

to the specifications for the front and rear windscreens and

the side windows of the vehicles, the offenders can move

undetected in such vehicles and commit crimes without

hesitation.
                                                                   3

3.   The word `tinted' means shade or hue as per the

dictionary. The rear and front and side glasses of vehicles are

provided with such shade or tint, and therefore, they are

widely referred to as `tinted glasses', which is different from

`black films'. The glasses of the vehicles having a coating of

black films cannot be termed as `tinted glasses' because they

are not manufactured as such.


4.   Besides aiding in commission of crimes, black films on

the vehicles are also at times positively correlated with motor

accidents on the roads.       It is for the reason that the

comparative visibility to that through normal/tinted glasses

which are manufactured as such is much lesser and the

persons driving at high speed, especially on highways, meet

with accidents because of use of black filmed glasses.


5.   The use of black films also prevents the traffic police

from seeing the activity in the car and communicating with the

driver of the vehicle. The petitioner also cites that the number

of fatal accidents of vehicles having black films is much higher

in India than in other parts of the world.    The black filmed

vehicles have lower visibility and therefore, the chances of

accident are increased by 18 per cent to 38 per cent due to
                                                                      4

low visibility.   He has also referred to the World Health

Organization's data, pertaining to deaths caused on roads,

which, in India have crossed that of China, though the latter

has more vehicles, population and area in comparison to

India.   A device called luxometer can measure the level of

opaqueness in windows owing to the application of black films

but this device is a scarce resource and is very scantily

available with the police personnel in India.


6.   The Court can take a judicial notice of the fact that even

as per the reports, maximum crimes are committed in such

vehicles and there has been a definite rise in the commission

of heinous crimes, posing a threat to security of individuals

and the State, both.


7.   Whatever are the rights of an individual, they are

regulated and controlled by the statutory provisions of the Act

and the Rules framed thereunder.       The citizens at large have

a right to life i.e. to live with dignity, freedom and safety. This

right emerges from Article 21 of the Constitution of India. As

opposed to this constitutional mandate, a trivial individual

protection or inconvenience, if any, must yield in favour of the

larger public interest.
                                                                        5

8.     The petitioner claims to have received various replies

from the police department of different States like Tamil Nadu,

West Bengal, Delhi and Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi.

On the basis of the replies received under the provisions of the

Right to Information Act, 2005, copies of which have been

annexed to the writ petition, it is averred that these

authorities are of the unanimous opinion that black films

should be banned. Black filmed glasses help in commission of

crime as well as hiding the criminals even during vehicle

checks at `Naka' points. Non-availability of electronic devices

to measure violations and lack of police force to enforce the

Rules are also apparent from these replies. The petitioner also

states that the use of black films is not prevalent in developed

and/or developing countries all over the world.           In fact, in

some    of   the   countries,   it   is specifically   banned.    In

Afghanistan, Belarus, Nigeria, Uganda and even in Pakistan,

use of black films on the vehicle glasses is banned. Use of

black films is not prevalent in United States of America,

United Kingdom, Germany and other countries as well.


9.     In order to examine the merits of the prayers made by

the petitioner in the present application, it will be necessary
                                                                        6

for us to refer to the relevant laws.


10.   The Motor Vehicle Act, 1939 was enacted to consolidate

and amend the laws relating to motor vehicles. This Act was

subjected to various amendments. Finally, the Motor Vehicles

Act, 1988 (for short `the Act') was enacted, inter alia, with the

object and reason being, to provide for quality standards for

pollution   control   devices,   provisions   for   issuing   fitness

certificate of the vehicle and effective ways of tracking down

traffic offenders.    Section 190 of the Act provides that any

person who drives or causes or allows to be driven in any

public place a motor vehicle or a trailer which has any defect,

or violates the standards prescribed in relation to road safety,

or violates the provisions of the Act or the Rules made therein,

is punishable as per the provisions of the Act. In other words,

alteration to the conditions of the vehicle in a manner

contravening the Act is not permissible in law.       Section 52 of

the Act declares that no owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter

the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of

registration are at variance with those originally specified by

the manufacturer. However, certain changes are permissible

in terms of the proviso to this Section and that too with the
                                                                         7

approval of the Central Government/competent authority.            In

terms of Section 53 of the Act, if any registering authority or

other prescribed authority has reason to believe that any

motor vehicle within its jurisdiction is in such a condition that

its use in a public place would constitute a danger to the

public, or that it fails to comply with the requirements of the

Act or the Rules made thereunder, whether due to alteration

of vehicle violative of Section 52 of the Act or otherwise, the

Authority may, after giving opportunity of hearing, suspend

the   registration   certificate   for   the   period   required   for

rectification of such defect, and if the defect is still not

removed, for cancellation of registration.        In exercise of its

power, under various provisions of the Act, the Central

Government has framed the Rules.           Chapter V of the Rules

deals with construction, equipment and maintenance of motor

vehicles. Rule 92 mandates that no person shall use or cause

or allow to be used in any public place any motor vehicle

which does not comply with the provisions of this Chapter.

There are different Rules which deals with various aspects of

construction and maintenance of vehicles including lights,

brakes, gears and other aspects including overall dimensions

of the vehicles. Rule 100 of the Rules concerns itself with the
                                                                      8

glass of windscreen and VLT of light of such glass windscreen.

It specifically provides for fixation of glasses made of

laminated     safety   glass   conforming   to   Indian   standards

IS:2553-Part 2 ­ 1992 and even for the kind of windscreen

wipers required to be fixed on the front screen of the vehicle.

Relevant part of Rule 100, with which we are concerned, reads

as under:-


     "100. Safety glass.--(1) The glass of windscreens
     and the windows of every motor vehicle 188[other
     than agricultural tractors] shall be of safety glass:

     Provided that in the case of three-wheelers and
     vehicles with hood and side covers, the windows
     may be of 189[acrylic or plastic transparent sheet.]

     Explanation.--For the purpose of this rule,--

       (i)     "safety glass" means glass conforming to
               the specifications of the Bureau of Indian
               Standards       or    any      International
               Standards and so manufactured or
               treated that if fractured, it does not fly or
               break into fragments capable of causing
               severe cuts;

       (ii)    any windscreen or window at the front of
               the vehicle, the inner surface of which is
               at an angle more than thirty degrees to
               the longitudinal axis of the vehicle shall
               be deemed to face to the front.

     [(2) The glass of the windscreen and rear window
     of every motor vehicle shall be such and shall be
     maintained in such a condition that the visual
     transmission of light is not less than 70%. The
     glasses used for side windows are such and shall
                                                                     9

      be maintained in such condition that the visual
      transmission of light is not less than 50%, and
      shall conform to Indian Standards [IS: 2553-- Part
      2--1992];

      (3) The glass of the front windscreen of every
      motor vehicle [other than two wheelers and
      agricultural tractors] manufactured after three
      years from the coming into force of the Central
      Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules, 1993 shall be
      made of laminated safety glass:

      Provided that on and from three months after the
      commencement of the Central Motor Vehicles
      (Amendment) Rules, 1999, the glass of the front
      windscreen of every motor vehicle other than two-
      wheelers and agricultural tractors shall be made of
      laminated safety glass conforming to the Indian
      Standards IS: 2553--Part 2--1992.

      Explanation.--For the purpose of these sub-rules
      "laminated safety glass" shall mean two or more
      pieces of glass held together by an intervening
      layer or layers of plastic materials. The laminated
      safety glass will crack and break under sufficient
      impact, but the pieces of the glass tend to adhere
      to the plastic material and do not fly, and if a hole
      is produced, the edges would be less jagged than
      they would be in the case of an ordinary glass."



11.   From the above provisions, it is clear that the Rules deal

with every minute detail of construction and maintenance of a

vehicle.      In   other   words,   the   standards,   sizes   and

specifications which the manufacturer of a vehicle is required

to adhere to while manufacturing the vehicle are exhaustively

dealt with under the Rules.         What is permitted has been
                                                                      10

specifically provided for and what has not been specifically

stated would obviously be deemed to have been excluded from

these Rules.    It would neither be permissible nor possible for

the Court to read into these statutory provisions, what is not

specifically provided for.   These are the specifications which

are in consonance with the prescribed IS No. 2553-Part 2 of

1992 and nothing is ambiguous or uncertain.         Let us take a

few examples.     Rule 104 requires that every motor vehicle,

other than three wheelers and motor cycles shall be fitted with

two red reflectors, one each on both sides at their rear. Every

motor cycle, shall be fitted with at least one red reflector at the

rear. Rule 104A, provides that two white reflex in the front of

the vehicle on each side and visible to on-coming vehicles

from the front at night.     Rule 106 deals with deflections of

lights and requires that no lamp showing a light to the front

shall be used on any motor vehicle including construction

equipment vehicle unless such lamp is so constructed, fitted

and maintained that the beam of light emitted therefrom is

permanently deflected downwards to such an extent that it is

not capable of dazzling any person whose eye position is at a

distance of 8 metres from the front of lamp etc.       Rules 119
                                                                   11

and 120 specify the kind, size and manner in which the horn

and silencer are to be fixed in a vehicle.


12.   These provisions demonstrate the extent of minuteness

in the Rules and the efforts of the framers to ensure, not only

the appropriate manner of construction and maintenance of

vehicle, but also the safety of other users of the road.


13.   Rule 100 provides for glass of windscreen and windows

of every motor vehicle. The glass used has to be `safety glass'.

Then it provides for the inner surface angle on the windscreen.

Rule 100 (2) provides that the glass of the windscreen and

rear window of every motor vehicle shall be such and shall be

maintained in such a condition that VLT is not less than 70

per cent and on side windows not less than 50 per cent and

would conform to Indian Standards [IS:2553-Part2-1992].


14.   The said IS, under clause 5.1.7, deals with VLT

standards and it provides for the same percentage of VLT

through the safety glass, as referred to in Rule 100(2) itself.


15.   Having dealt with the relevant provisions of law, we may

also refer to a statistical fact that the number of violators of

Rule 100 has gone up from 110 in the year 2008 to 1234 in
                                                                    12

the year 2010, in Delhi alone. This itself shows an increasing

trend of offenders in this regard.


16.   In face of the language of the Rule, we cannot grant the

petitioner the relief prayed for, that there should be 100 per

cent VLT.     This Court cannot issue directions that vehicles

should have glasses with 100 per cent VLT. Rule 100 of the

Rules is a valid piece of legislation and is on the statute book.

Once such provision exists, this Court cannot issue directions

contrary to the provision of law.    Thus, we decline to grant

this prayer to the petitioner.


17.   However, the prayer relating to issuance of directions

prohibiting use of black films on the glasses of vehicles

certainly has merit.   On the plain reading of the Rule, it is

clear that car must have safety glass having VLT at the time of

manufacturing 70 per cent for windscreen and 50 per cent for

side windows. It should be so maintained in that condition

thereafter.    In other words, the Rule not impliedly, but

specifically, prohibits alteration of such VLT by any means

subsequent to its manufacturing.      How and what will be a

"safety glass" has been explained in Explanation to Rule 100.

The Explanation while defining `laminated safety glass' makes
                                                                     13

it clear that two or more pieces of glass held together by an

intervening layers of plastic materials so that the glass is held

together in the event of impact. The Rule and the explanation

do not contemplate or give any leeway to the manufacturer or

user of the vehicle to, in any manner, tamper with the VLT.

The Rule and the IS only specify the VLT of the glass itself.


18.   Two scenarios must be examined. First, if the glass so

manufactured already has the VLT as specified, then the

question of further reducing it by any means shall be in clear

violation of Rule 100 as well as the prescribed IS. Secondly,

the rule requires a manufacturer to manufacture the vehicles

with safety glasses with prescribed VLT. It is the minimum

percentage that has been specified.      The manufacturer may

manufacture vehicle with a higher VLT to the prescribed limit

or even a vehicle with tinted glasses, if such glasses do not fall

short of the minimum prescribed VLT in terms of Rule 100.

None can be permitted to create his own device to bring down

the percentage of the VLT thereafter.        Thus, on the plain

reading of the Rule and the IS standards, use of black films of

any density is impermissible. Another adverse aspect of use

of black films is that even if they reflect tolerable VLT in the
                                                                   14

day time, still in the night it would clearly violate the

prescribed VLT limits and would result in poor visibility,

which again would be impermissible.



19.   The legislative intent attaching due significance to the

`public safety' is evident from the object and reasons of the

Act, the provisions of the Act and more particularly, the Rules

framed thereunder.     Even if we assume, for the sake of

argument, that Rule 100 is capable of any interpretation, then

this Court should give it an interpretation which would serve

the legislative intent and the object of framing such rules, in

preference to one which would frustrate the very purpose of

enacting the Rules as well as undermining the public safety

and interest. Use of these black films have been proved to be

criminal's paradise and a social evil.      The petitioner has

rightly brought on record the unanimous view of various

police authorities right from the States of Calcutta, Tamil

Nadu and Delhi to the Ministry of Home Affairs that use of

black films on vehicles has jeopardized the security and safety

interests of the State and public at large. This certainly helps

the criminals to escape from the eyes of the police and aids in

commission of heinous crimes like s*xual assault on women,
                                                                    15

robberies, kidnapping, etc.    If these crimes can be reduced by

enforcing the prohibition of law, it would further the cause of

Rule of Law and Public Interest as well.


20.   This Court in the case of Hira Tikoo v. Union Territory of

Chandigarh [(2004) 6 SCC 765], while dealing with the

provisions of town planning and the land allotted to the

allottees, upon which the allotees had made full payment,

held that such allotment was found to be contravening other

statutory provisions and the allotted area was situated under

the reserved forest land and land in periphery of 900 meters of

Air Force Base. The Court held that there was no vested right

and public welfare should prevail as the highest law.      Thus,

this Court, while relying upon the maxim "salus populi est

suprema lex", modified the order of the High Court holding

that the allottees had no vested right and the land forming

part of the forest area could not be taken away for other

purposes. Reference can also be made to the judgment of this

Court in Friends Colony Development Committee v. State of

Orissa [AIR 2005 SC 1], where this Court, while referring to

construction activity violative of the regulations and control

orders,   held   that   the   regulations   made   under   Orissa
                                                                       16

Development Authorities Act, 1982 may meddle with private

rights   but   still   they   cannot   be   termed    arbitrary   or

unreasonable. The private interest would stand subordinate

to public good.


21.   In the present case as well, even if some individual

interests are likely to suffer, such individual or private

interests must give in to the larger public interest. It is the

duty of all citizens to comply with the law.         The Rules are

mandatory and nobody has the authority in law to mould

these rules for the purposes of convenience or luxury and

certainly not for crime. We may also note that a Bench of this

Court, vide its Order dated 15 th December, 1998 in Civil

Appeal No. 3700 of 1999 titled Chandigarh Administration and

Others v. Namit Kumar & Ors., had permitted the use of `light

coloured tinted glasses' only while specifically disapproving

use of films on the vehicles. Subsequently, in the same case,

but on a different date, another Bench of this Court vide its

order reported at [(2004) 8 SCC 446] made a direction that

mandate of sub-Rule (2) of Rule 100 shall be kept in mind

while dealing with such cases.
                                                                        17

22.   Rightly so, none of the orders of this Court have

permitted use of black films.    Rule 100(2) specifies the VLT

percentage of the glasses at the time of manufacture and to be

so maintained even thereafter. In Europe, Regulation No. 43

of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations

(UN/ECE) and in Britain, the Road Vehicles (Construction and

Use) Regulations, 1986, respectively, refer to the International

Standard    ISO   3538   on   this   issue,   providing   for   VLT

percentage of 70 and 75 per cent respectively.


23.   In light of the above discussion, we have no hesitation in

holding that use of black films or any other material upon

safety glass, windscreen and side windows is impermissible.

In terms of Rule 100(2), 70 per cent and 50 per cent VLT

standard are relatable to the manufacture of the safety glasses

for the windshields (front and rear) and the side windows

respectively. Use of films or any other material upon the

windscreen or the side windows is impermissible in law.         It is

the VLT of the safety glass without any additional material

being pasted upon the safety glasses which must conform

with manufacture specifications.
                                                                     18

24.   Another issue that has been raised in the present Writ

Petition is that certain VIPs/VVIPs are using black films on

their vehicles for security reasons.   Even this practice is not

supported by law, as no notification by the competent

authority has been brought to our notice, giving exemption to

such vehicles from the operation of Rule 100 or any of its

provisions.    Be that as it may, we do not wish to enter upon

the arena of the security and safety measures when the police

department and Home Ministry consider such exemption

appropriate.      The cases of the persons who have been

provided with Z and Z+ security category may be considered

by a Committee consisting of the Director General of

Police/Commissioner of Police of the concerned State and the

Home Secretary of that State/Centre.         It will be for that

Committee to examine such cases for grant of exemption in

accordance with law and upon due application of mind.

These certificates should be provided only in relation to official

cars of VIPs/VVIPs, depending upon the category of security

that such person has been awarded by the competent

authority.     The appropriate government is free to make any

regulations that it may consider appropriate in this regard.
                                                                     19

25.   The competent officer of the traffic police or any other

authorized person shall challan such vehicles for violating

Rules 92 and 100 of the Rules with effect from the specified

date and thereupon shall also remove the black films from the

offending vehicles.



26.   The manufacturer of the vehicle may manufacture the

vehicles   with   tinted   glasses   which   have   Visual   Light

Transmission (VLT) of safety glasses windscreen (front and

rear) as 70 per cent VLT and side glasses as 40 per cent VLT,

respectively.     No black film or any other material can be

pasted on the windscreens and side glasses of a vehicle.


27.   For the reasons afore-stated, we prohibit the use of black

films of any VLT percentage or any other material upon the

safety glasses, windscreens (front and rear) and side glasses of

all vehicles throughout the country. The Home Secretary,

Director General/Commissioner of Police of the respective

States/Centre shall ensure compliance with this direction.

The directions contained in this judgment shall become

operative and enforceable with effect from 4 th May, 2012.
                                                                               20

28.   With the above directions, we partially allow this writ

petition and prohibit use of black films of any percentage VLT

upon the safety glasses, windscreens (front and rear) and side

glasses. However, there shall be no order as to costs.



                                 ......................................CJI.
                                           (S.H. Kapadia)



                                 .........................................J.
                                        (A.K. Patnaik)



                                 .........................................J.
                                                 (Swatanter Kumar)

New Delhi
April 27, 2012
                                                                         21


ITEM No.1A            COURT NO.1                         SECTION PIL


               S U P R E M E   C O U R T   O F         I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

                  Writ Petition (C) No.265 of 2011


 Avishek Goenka                                          Appellant(s)

                                 VERSUS

 Union of India and Anr.                                 Respondent(s)



 Date : 27/04/2012 This Petition was called on for judgement today.


 For Petitioner (s)        In-person (N/P)


 For Respondent (s)        Mr.   Gaurab Banerji,ASG.
                           Mr.   T.A. Khan,Adv.
                           Mr.   Vikas Garg,Adv.
                           Mr.   B.K. Prasad,Adv.


           Hon'ble Mr. Justice Swatanter Kumar pronounced
      the judgement of the Bench comprising Hon'ble the
      Chief Justice, Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Patnaik and
      His Lordship.

           The writ petition is partially allowed with
      directions and prohibit use of black films of any
      percentage   VLT    upon   the    safety   glasses,
      windscreeens (front and rear) and side glasses.
      However, there shall be no order as to costs.



        [ Alka Dudeja ]           [ Madhu Saxena ]
         A.R.-cum-P.S.             Assistant Registrar

        [Signed reportable judgement is placed on the file]

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

Originally posted by :B.K.GUPTA
"
 
1

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION


WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 265 OF 2011


Avishek Goenka ... Petitioner
Versus
Union of India & Anr. ... Respondents



JUDGMENT



Swatanter Kumar, J.


1. Alarming rise in heinous crimes like kidnapping, s*xual

assault on women and dacoity have impinged upon the right

to life and the right to live in a safe environment which are

within the contours of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

One of the contributory factors to such increase is use of

black films on windows/windshields of four-wheeled vehicles.

The petitioner, as a public spirited person, has invoked the

extra-ordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of the

Constitution in the present public interest litigation, praying

for certain directions to stop this menace. According to the

petitioner, this Court should issue a writ or direction requiring

use of such safety glasses on the windows/windshields in
2

vehicles having 100 per cent Visual Light Transmission (for

short `VLT') only and, to that extent, the petitioner challenges

the correctness of Rule 100 of the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989

(for short "the Rules"). He also prays for prohibition on use of

black films on the glasses of the vehicles, proper

implementation of law in that behalf and finally, for taking

stringent actions against the offenders, using vehicles with

black filmed glasses. He also prays that a larger police force

should be deputed to monitor such offences.


2. The use of black films upon the vehicles gives immunity

to the violators in committing a crime and is used as a tool of

criminality, considerably increasing criminal activities. At

times, heinous crimes like dacoity, rape, murder and even

terrorist acts are committed in or with the aid of vehicles

having black films pasted on the side windows and on the

screens of the vehicles. It is stated that because of non-

observance of the norms, regulations and guidelines relating

to the specifications for the front and rear windscreens and

the side windows of the vehicles, the offenders can move

undetected in such vehicles and commit crimes without

hesitation.
3

3. The word `tinted' means shade or hue as per the

dictionary. The rear and front and side glasses of vehicles are

provided with such shade or tint, and therefore, they are

widely referred to as `tinted glasses', which is different from

`black films'. The glasses of the vehicles having a coating of

black films cannot be termed as `tinted glasses' because they

are not manufactured as such.


4. Besides aiding in commission of crimes, black films on

the vehicles are also at times positively correlated with motor

accidents on the roads. It is for the reason that the

comparative visibility to that through normal/tinted glasses

which are manufactured as such is much lesser and the

persons driving at high speed, especially on highways, meet

with accidents because of use of black filmed glasses.


5. The use of black films also prevents the traffic police

from seeing the activity in the car and communicating with the

driver of the vehicle. The petitioner also cites that the number

of fatal accidents of vehicles having black films is much higher

in India than in other parts of the world. The black filmed

vehicles have lower visibility and therefore, the chances of

accident are increased by 18 per cent to 38 per cent due to
4

low visibility. He has also referred to the World Health

Organization's data, pertaining to deaths caused on roads,

which, in India have crossed that of China, though the latter

has more vehicles, population and area in comparison to

India. A device called luxometer can measure the level of

opaqueness in windows owing to the application of black films

but this device is a scarce resource and is very scantily

available with the police personnel in India.


6. The Court can take a judicial notice of the fact that even

as per the reports, maximum crimes are committed in such

vehicles and there has been a definite rise in the commission

of heinous crimes, posing a threat to security of individuals

and the State, both.


7. Whatever are the rights of an individual, they are

regulated and controlled by the statutory provisions of the Act

and the Rules framed thereunder. The citizens at large have

a right to life i.e. to live with dignity, freedom and safety. This

right emerges from Article 21 of the Constitution of India. As

opposed to this constitutional mandate, a trivial individual

protection or inconvenience, if any, must yield in favour of the

larger public interest.
5

8. The petitioner claims to have received various replies

from the police department of different States like Tamil Nadu,

West Bengal, Delhi and Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi.

On the basis of the replies received under the provisions of the

Right to Information Act, 2005, copies of which have been

annexed to the writ petition, it is averred that these

authorities are of the unanimous opinion that black films

should be banned. Black filmed glasses help in commission of

crime as well as hiding the criminals even during vehicle

checks at `Naka' points. Non-availability of electronic devices

to measure violations and lack of police force to enforce the

Rules are also apparent from these replies. The petitioner also

states that the use of black films is not prevalent in developed

and/or developing countries all over the world. In fact, in

some of the countries, it is specifically banned. In

Afghanistan, Belarus, Nigeria, Uganda and even in Pakistan,

use of black films on the vehicle glasses is banned. Use of

black films is not prevalent in United States of America,

United Kingdom, Germany and other countries as well.


9. In order to examine the merits of the prayers made by

the petitioner in the present application, it will be necessary
6

for us to refer to the relevant laws.


10. The Motor Vehicle Act, 1939 was enacted to consolidate

and amend the laws relating to motor vehicles. This Act was

subjected to various amendments. Finally, the Motor Vehicles

Act, 1988 (for short `the Act') was enacted, inter alia, with the

object and reason being, to provide for quality standards for

pollution control devices, provisions for issuing fitness

certificate of the vehicle and effective ways of tracking down

traffic offenders. Section 190 of the Act provides that any

person who drives or causes or allows to be driven in any

public place a motor vehicle or a trailer which has any defect,

or violates the standards prescribed in relation to road safety,

or violates the provisions of the Act or the Rules made therein,

is punishable as per the provisions of the Act. In other words,

alteration to the conditions of the vehicle in a manner

contravening the Act is not permissible in law. Section 52 of

the Act declares that no owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter

the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of

registration are at variance with those originally specified by

the manufacturer. However, certain changes are permissible

in terms of the proviso to this Section and that too with the
7

approval of the Central Government/competent authority. In

terms of Section 53 of the Act, if any registering authority or

other prescribed authority has reason to believe that any

motor vehicle within its jurisdiction is in such a condition that

its use in a public place would constitute a danger to the

public, or that it fails to comply with the requirements of the

Act or the Rules made thereunder, whether due to alteration

of vehicle violative of Section 52 of the Act or otherwise, the

Authority may, after giving opportunity of hearing, suspend

the registration certificate for the period required for

rectification of such defect, and if the defect is still not

removed, for cancellation of registration. In exercise of its

power, under various provisions of the Act, the Central

Government has framed the Rules. Chapter V of the Rules

deals with construction, equipment and maintenance of motor

vehicles. Rule 92 mandates that no person shall use or cause

or allow to be used in any public place any motor vehicle

which does not comply with the provisions of this Chapter.

There are different Rules which deals with various aspects of

construction and maintenance of vehicles including lights,

brakes, gears and other aspects including overall dimensions

of the vehicles. Rule 100 of the Rules concerns itself with the
8

glass of windscreen and VLT of light of such glass windscreen.

It specifically provides for fixation of glasses made of

laminated safety glass conforming to Indian standards

IS:2553-Part 2 ­ 1992 and even for the kind of windscreen

wipers required to be fixed on the front screen of the vehicle.

Relevant part of Rule 100, with which we are concerned, reads

as under:-


"100. Safety glass.--(1) The glass of windscreens
and the windows of every motor vehicle 188[other
than agricultural tractors] shall be of safety glass:

Provided that in the case of three-wheelers and
vehicles with hood and side covers, the windows
may be of 189[acrylic or plastic transparent sheet.]

Explanation.--For the purpose of this rule,--

(i) "safety glass" means glass conforming to
the specifications of the Bureau of Indian
Standards or any International
Standards and so manufactured or
treated that if fractured, it does not fly or
break into fragments capable of causing
severe cuts;

(ii) any windscreen or window at the front of
the vehicle, the inner surface of which is
at an angle more than thirty degrees to
the longitudinal axis of the vehicle shall
be deemed to face to the front.

[(2) The glass of the windscreen and rear window
of every motor vehicle shall be such and shall be
maintained in such a condition that the visual
transmission of light is not less than 70%. The
glasses used for side windows are such and shall
9

be maintained in such condition that the visual
transmission of light is not less than 50%, and
shall conform to Indian Standards [IS: 2553-- Part
2--1992];

(3) The glass of the front windscreen of every
motor vehicle [other than two wheelers and
agricultural tractors] manufactured after three
years from the coming into force of the Central
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules, 1993 shall be
made of laminated safety glass:

Provided that on and from three months after the
commencement of the Central Motor Vehicles
(Amendment) Rules, 1999, the glass of the front
windscreen of every motor vehicle other than two-
wheelers and agricultural tractors shall be made of
laminated safety glass conforming to the Indian
Standards IS: 2553--Part 2--1992.

Explanation.--For the purpose of these sub-rules
"laminated safety glass" shall mean two or more
pieces of glass held together by an intervening
layer or layers of plastic materials. The laminated
safety glass will crack and break under sufficient
impact, but the pieces of the glass tend to adhere
to the plastic material and do not fly, and if a hole
is produced, the edges would be less jagged than
they would be in the case of an ordinary glass."



11. From the above provisions, it is clear that the Rules deal

with every minute detail of construction and maintenance of a

vehicle. In other words, the standards, sizes and

specifications which the manufacturer of a vehicle is required

to adhere to while manufacturing the vehicle are exhaustively

dealt with under the Rules. What is permitted has been
10

specifically provided for and what has not been specifically

stated would obviously be deemed to have been excluded from

these Rules. It would neither be permissible nor possible for

the Court to read into these statutory provisions, what is not

specifically provided for. These are the specifications which

are in consonance with the prescribed IS No. 2553-Part 2 of

1992 and nothing is ambiguous or uncertain. Let us take a

few examples. Rule 104 requires that every motor vehicle,

other than three wheelers and motor cycles shall be fitted with

two red reflectors, one each on both sides at their rear. Every

motor cycle, shall be fitted with at least one red reflector at the

rear. Rule 104A, provides that two white reflex in the front of

the vehicle on each side and visible to on-coming vehicles

from the front at night. Rule 106 deals with deflections of

lights and requires that no lamp showing a light to the front

shall be used on any motor vehicle including construction

equipment vehicle unless such lamp is so constructed, fitted

and maintained that the beam of light emitted therefrom is

permanently deflected downwards to such an extent that it is

not capable of dazzling any person whose eye position is at a

distance of 8 metres from the front of lamp etc. Rules 119
11

and 120 specify the kind, size and manner in which the horn

and silencer are to be fixed in a vehicle.


12. These provisions demonstrate the extent of minuteness

in the Rules and the efforts of the framers to ensure, not only

the appropriate manner of construction and maintenance of

vehicle, but also the safety of other users of the road.


13. Rule 100 provides for glass of windscreen and windows

of every motor vehicle. The glass used has to be `safety glass'.

Then it provides for the inner surface angle on the windscreen.

Rule 100 (2) provides that the glass of the windscreen and

rear window of every motor vehicle shall be such and shall be

maintained in such a condition that VLT is not less than 70

per cent and on side windows not less than 50 per cent and

would conform to Indian Standards [IS:2553-Part2-1992].


14. The said IS, under clause 5.1.7, deals with VLT

standards and it provides for the same percentage of VLT

through the safety glass, as referred to in Rule 100(2) itself.


15. Having dealt with the relevant provisions of law, we may

also refer to a statistical fact that the number of violators of

Rule 100 has gone up from 110 in the year 2008 to 1234 in
12

the year 2010, in Delhi alone. This itself shows an increasing

trend of offenders in this regard.


16. In face of the language of the Rule, we cannot grant the

petitioner the relief prayed for, that there should be 100 per

cent VLT. This Court cannot issue directions that vehicles

should have glasses with 100 per cent VLT. Rule 100 of the

Rules is a valid piece of legislation and is on the statute book.

Once such provision exists, this Court cannot issue directions

contrary to the provision of law. Thus, we decline to grant

this prayer to the petitioner.


17. However, the prayer relating to issuance of directions

prohibiting use of black films on the glasses of vehicles

certainly has merit. On the plain reading of the Rule, it is

clear that car must have safety glass having VLT at the time of

manufacturing 70 per cent for windscreen and 50 per cent for

side windows. It should be so maintained in that condition

thereafter. In other words, the Rule not impliedly, but

specifically, prohibits alteration of such VLT by any means

subsequent to its manufacturing. How and what will be a

"safety glass" has been explained in Explanation to Rule 100.

The Explanation while defining `laminated safety glass' makes
13

it clear that two or more pieces of glass held together by an

intervening layers of plastic materials so that the glass is held

together in the event of impact. The Rule and the explanation

do not contemplate or give any leeway to the manufacturer or

user of the vehicle to, in any manner, tamper with the VLT.

The Rule and the IS only specify the VLT of the glass itself.


18. Two scenarios must be examined. First, if the glass so

manufactured already has the VLT as specified, then the

question of further reducing it by any means shall be in clear

violation of Rule 100 as well as the prescribed IS. Secondly,

the rule requires a manufacturer to manufacture the vehicles

with safety glasses with prescribed VLT. It is the minimum

percentage that has been specified. The manufacturer may

manufacture vehicle with a higher VLT to the prescribed limit

or even a vehicle with tinted glasses, if such glasses do not fall

short of the minimum prescribed VLT in terms of Rule 100.

None can be permitted to create his own device to bring down

the percentage of the VLT thereafter. Thus, on the plain

reading of the Rule and the IS standards, use of black films of

any density is impermissible. Another adverse aspect of use

of black films is that even if they reflect tolerable VLT in the
14

day time, still in the night it would clearly violate the

prescribed VLT limits and would result in poor visibility,

which again would be impermissible.



19. The legislative intent attaching due significance to the

`public safety' is evident from the object and reasons of the

Act, the provisions of the Act and more particularly, the Rules

framed thereunder. Even if we assume, for the sake of

argument, that Rule 100 is capable of any interpretation, then

this Court should give it an interpretation which would serve

the legislative intent and the object of framing such rules, in

preference to one which would frustrate the very purpose of

enacting the Rules as well as undermining the public safety

and interest. Use of these black films have been proved to be

criminal's paradise and a social evil. The petitioner has

rightly brought on record the unanimous view of various

police authorities right from the States of Calcutta, Tamil

Nadu and Delhi to the Ministry of Home Affairs that use of

black films on vehicles has jeopardized the security and safety

interests of the State and public at large. This certainly helps

the criminals to escape from the eyes of the police and aids in

commission of heinous crimes like s*xual assault on women,
15

robberies, kidnapping, etc. If these crimes can be reduced by

enforcing the prohibition of law, it would further the cause of

Rule of Law and Public Interest as well.


20. This Court in the case of Hira Tikoo v. Union Territory of

Chandigarh [(2004) 6 SCC 765], while dealing with the

provisions of town planning and the land allotted to the

allottees, upon which the allotees had made full payment,

held that such allotment was found to be contravening other

statutory provisions and the allotted area was situated under

the reserved forest land and land in periphery of 900 meters of

Air Force Base. The Court held that there was no vested right

and public welfare should prevail as the highest law. Thus,

this Court, while relying upon the maxim "salus populi est

suprema lex", modified the order of the High Court holding

that the allottees had no vested right and the land forming

part of the forest area could not be taken away for other

purposes. Reference can also be made to the judgment of this

Court in Friends Colony Development Committee v. State of

Orissa [AIR 2005 SC 1], where this Court, while referring to

construction activity violative of the regulations and control

orders, held that the regulations made under Orissa
16

Development Authorities Act, 1982 may meddle with private

rights but still they cannot be termed arbitrary or

unreasonable. The private interest would stand subordinate

to public good.


21. In the present case as well, even if some individual

interests are likely to suffer, such individual or private

interests must give in to the larger public interest. It is the

duty of all citizens to comply with the law. The Rules are

mandatory and nobody has the authority in law to mould

these rules for the purposes of convenience or luxury and

certainly not for crime. We may also note that a Bench of this

Court, vide its Order dated 15 th December, 1998 in Civil

Appeal No. 3700 of 1999 titled Chandigarh Administration and

Others v. Namit Kumar & Ors., had permitted the use of `light

coloured tinted glasses' only while specifically disapproving

use of films on the vehicles. Subsequently, in the same case,

but on a different date, another Bench of this Court vide its

order reported at [(2004) 8 SCC 446] made a direction that

mandate of sub-Rule (2) of Rule 100 shall be kept in mind

while dealing with such cases.
17

22. Rightly so, none of the orders of this Court have

permitted use of black films. Rule 100(2) specifies the VLT

percentage of the glasses at the time of manufacture and to be

so maintained even thereafter. In Europe, Regulation No. 43

of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations

(UN/ECE) and in Britain, the Road Vehicles (Construction and

Use) Regulations, 1986, respectively, refer to the International

Standard ISO 3538 on this issue, providing for VLT

percentage of 70 and 75 per cent respectively.


23. In light of the above discussion, we have no hesitation in

holding that use of black films or any other material upon

safety glass, windscreen and side windows is impermissible.

In terms of Rule 100(2), 70 per cent and 50 per cent VLT

standard are relatable to the manufacture of the safety glasses

for the windshields (front and rear) and the side windows

respectively. Use of films or any other material upon the

windscreen or the side windows is impermissible in law. It is

the VLT of the safety glass without any additional material

being pasted upon the safety glasses which must conform

with manufacture specifications.
18

24. Another issue that has been raised in the present Writ

Petition is that certain VIPs/VVIPs are using black films on

their vehicles for security reasons. Even this practice is not

supported by law, as no notification by the competent

authority has been brought to our notice, giving exemption to

such vehicles from the operation of Rule 100 or any of its

provisions. Be that as it may, we do not wish to enter upon

the arena of the security and safety measures when the police

department and Home Ministry consider such exemption

appropriate. The cases of the persons who have been

provided with Z and Z+ security category may be considered

by a Committee consisting of the Director General of

Police/Commissioner of Police of the concerned State and the

Home Secretary of that State/Centre. It will be for that

Committee to examine such cases for grant of exemption in

accordance with law and upon due application of mind.

These certificates should be provided only in relation to official

cars of VIPs/VVIPs, depending upon the category of security

that such person has been awarded by the competent

authority. The appropriate government is free to make any

regulations that it may consider appropriate in this regard.
19

25. The competent officer of the traffic police or any other

authorized person shall challan such vehicles for violating

Rules 92 and 100 of the Rules with effect from the specified

date and thereupon shall also remove the black films from the

offending vehicles.



26. The manufacturer of the vehicle may manufacture the

vehicles with tinted glasses which have Visual Light

Transmission (VLT) of safety glasses windscreen (front and

rear) as 70 per cent VLT and side glasses as 40 per cent VLT,

respectively. No black film or any other material can be

pasted on the windscreens and side glasses of a vehicle.


27. For the reasons afore-stated, we prohibit the use of black

films of any VLT percentage or any other material upon the

safety glasses, windscreens (front and rear) and side glasses of

all vehicles throughout the country. The Home Secretary,

Director General/Commissioner of Police of the respective

States/Centre shall ensure compliance with this direction.

The directions contained in this judgment shall become

operative and enforceable with effect from 4 th May, 2012.
20

28. With the above directions, we partially allow this writ

petition and prohibit use of black films of any percentage VLT

upon the safety glasses, windscreens (front and rear) and side

glasses. However, there shall be no order as to costs.



......................................CJI.
(S.H. Kapadia)



.........................................J.
(A.K. Patnaik)



.........................................J.
(Swatanter Kumar)

New Delhi
April 27, 2012
 
"
 
Reply   
 


ADVISOR

I A has been filed in this case and it is expected it would be listed during vacations as directed on May 28,2012.

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

IA has been listed for directions in the matter on

June 11,2012

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

The next date of listing the IA is July 9,2012

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

Srinagar: Three weeks after the Supreme Court ban on use of black films on windscreens and side- glasses of four wheelers came into effect, the order is being violated by officials and common people alike here. 

They include several members of the legal community and the officialdom. Although Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who enjoys Z-Plus security cover, is entitled to use of black film on his vehicle for security reasons, the state chief minister has so far foregone the privilege. 

A cursory look at cars parked in the premises of the Civil Secretariat building and court complexes bear out that the ban is yet to become effective. The official vehicles alloted to many senior as well as mid-rung police officers are still having black films. 
 

The Supreme Court had on April 28 directed states and Union territories to strictly enforce the ban on use of the tint beyond the permissible limit. 

The apex court had, however, granted liberty to the police officers concerned to grant exemption to VVIPs like those enjoying "Z" and "Z plus" category security cover. 
 

 

"We want people to do it (remove black film) voluntarily instead of getting embarrassed in public," DIG Traffic, Kashmir Range, Shafqat Watali told a news agency. 

from Zee News.com published on May 27,2012

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

Due to filing of IA in the matter the case was again listed for 9.7.2012 and now it has been listed for 11.7.2012.

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

The matter with other IAs filed in the case is due to be listed on 19.07.2012 ,2.00 p.m.

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

On 19.07.2012 the court made the following order:

"Heard petitioner in person and learned counsel for the parties.

         Order reserved in all IAs"

 
Reply   
 
ADVISOR

The Supreme Court on 3.8.2012 while rejecting various IAs filed in the matter:

"11.      We must notice  at  the  very  threshold  that  in  the  main  Writ
Petition no. 265 of 2011 and even in the present applications, there  is  no
challenge to Rule 100 of the Motor Vehicles Rules,  1989  (for  short,  'the
Rules').   This  Court  vide  its  judgment  dated  27th  April,  2012,  has
interpreted the said Rule de  hors  the  other  factors.   Once  this  Court
interprets a provision of law, the law so declared would be the law  of  the
land in terms of Article 141 of the  Constitution  of  India.   The  law  so
declared is binding on all and must be enforced in  terms  thereof.   Having
interpreted the Rule to mean that  it  is  the  safety  glasses  alone  with
requisite VLT that can be fixed in a vehicle, it is not for  this  Court  to
change  the  language  of  the  said  Rule.   It  would,  primarily,  be   a
legislative function and no role herein, is to be performed by this Court."



Attached File : 562920228 sc 3.8.2012.txt downloaded 105 times
 
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