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Car owners defy SC ban on dark windows

Saket Tiwari

Police say youngsters who use tinted windows are considered " cool dudes" by their peers.

Cars in Bengaluru continue to have dark film on their glasses despite a ban imposed by the Supreme Court more than five years ago. Vehicles with windows that allow less than 70% visual light transmission (VLT) for windshields and 50% VLT for windows are a common sight.

The law also prohibits the use of stickers or any other opaque material on the windshields and windows.

The Supreme Court had in April 2012 said: “On plain reading of Rule 100, it is clear that a car must have safety glass having 70% VLT for windscreens and 50% for side windows.” The ruling came in the wake of public interest litigation that said cars with dark film were being used to commit crimes against women.
Till September 2017, Bengaluru traffic police had registered 18,457 cases against cars with tinted windows, which was only 17,555 previous year.

Violators are fined Rs 100 for a first offence and Rs 300 for a subsequent one.
Police say they have tried to stop the use of tinted glasses but not met with much success. “We are doing our best to curtail the use of tinted glasses, but traffic police... cannot look after each and every vehicle that passes by,” Boralingaiah M.B., DCP-South East, informed The Observer.

TP Shivakumar, DCP, Traffic-West, said: “Although we impose fines and take necessary action, the number has not come down. Tinted glasses are mostly used by youngsters as these have become a status symbol. They say those using tinted windows are considered ‘cool dudes’ by their peers.”

Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, says the owner of a car cannot alter any part of the vehicle after receiving it from the manufacturer, who provides the vehicle under the guidelines of the existing law.
Rule 100(2) of the Act says: “70% and 50% visual light transmission (VLT) standards are related to manufacturing of safety glasses for windshields (front and rear) and the side windows respectively.”

Traffic inspector Ravi Kumar said Kengeri police have booked 414 cases against cars violating the law this year till July. Data accessed by The Observer shows an increase in number of cases booked last week over the previous week.
Adugodi traffic police have collected a total of Rs 23,900 by penalizing 191 vehicles in the year 2017.

A sales manager of Akshaya Motors on Mysuru Road, a Mercedes Benz dealer, said: “When somebody buys a car, then as per their demands, we add panels like bumper, headlight guard and interior decoration..., but we don’t go beyond law as tinting is banned.”

Jagannath Reddy, head of physics department, Ramaiah Institute of Technology, said: “Tinting is meant to minimize sunlight falling on the eyes of driver during. But some people misuse the technology. It is difficult for police to stand at every nook and corner of the city. We citizens should be responsible.”

Following this, Bengaluru traffic police gave car drivers and owners 15 days to comply with the order. They set up film-removing centres at 10 places in the city.

WHAT IS TINTING
Tinting is a process where glass is covered with polyethylene terephthalate film. It prevents heat and radiation from entering the vehicle. It is also employed in shop fronts, offices and homes.

TOP COURT SAID
The use of the black films has been proved to be criminal’s paradise and a social evil, and has jeopardized the security and safety interests of the state and public at large. Supreme Court in its April 2012 judgment