Motorists across the country have to remove black films or any other material tampering with the original form of the safety glass, windscreen or side windows of vehicles before May 4 or face action.
The Supreme Court has ordered a complete ban on use of tinted plastic films irrespective of the degree of visibility on windscreens and other glass panels of vehicles throughout the country.
Giving time to vehicle owners to bring their vehicles back in the shape it was provided by the manufacturer, a bench presided over by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia directed police officers to start taking action from May 4.
The bench said police officers should not only issue challans but also remove the black films from the offending vehicles.
"No black film or any material can be pasted on the windscreens or side glasses of a vehicle," the bench said, imposing a complete ban on plastic films in unambiguous terms.
On the Central Motor Vehicle Rules mandating a minimum visibility of 70 per cent for windscreens and 50 per cent for side windows, the court said the parameters were for manufactures but once the vehicles came into the hands of buyers the specifications could not be changed. "None can be permitted to create his own device to bring down the percentage of the VLT (Visual Light Transmission) thereafter,'' the court said.
Seeking strict compliance, the court said the use of black films had proved to be criminal's paradise and a social evil. Vehicles with tinted glasses helped criminals escape after committing heinous crimes such as sexual assault against women, robberies, kidnapping etc.
"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,'' the court said.
On certain VIPs/VVIPs using tinted glasses in their vehicles, the court said even that practice was not supported by law. The government could, however, consider granting them exemption in accordance with law.
The order came on a PIL by Avishek Goenka who had submitted that tinted glasses not only helped criminals but was also responsible for a large number of accidents. He had pointed out that several countries, including Pakistan, had banned black films.