Indian media praise top court's restriction on 'colonial-era' red beacons

India VIP convoy
Image caption Beacons on official cars are often considered as a status symbol in India

Media in India are welcoming a Supreme Court order that limits the use of red beacons on vehicles to those holding constitutional offices.

The order says only the president, vice-president, the prime minister, senior judges and some top officials will be entitled to the red beacons.

Experts say red beacons "represent power" and are often misused by politicians in Indian cities and towns.

Papers too feel the red beacon "culture" needs to end since it symbolises colonial rule and advocates "alienating" practices.

The Indian Express goes a step further and says only emergency services should be allowed to use beacons.

"The court is right to observe that the red beacon is a vestige of the British raj (rule). While it may have made sense for an imperial power to announce its lofty distance from the people, a democracy has no business carrying on these alienating practices," the paper adds.

Hindi paper Amar Ujala echoes similar views, saying such a practice alienates people.

"Moving about in vehicles with red beacons is symbolic of one such feudal procedure… it is surprising that the judiciary is having to do the job which parliament or governments should have done," it says.

Some papers, however, foresee difficulties in the implementation of the court order.

The Times of India asks if the police would have the "audacity" to stop vehicles to inquire if the dignitary is on an official or private visit.

Experts feel a "meagre" fine of just over a pound for using red beacons illegally can hardly serve as a deterrent, the paper says in another report.

Mysore royal dies

In international news, the chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab Province, Shahbaz Sharif, will start a four-day visit to India on Thursday to promote trade ties, reports The Tribune.

Mr Sharif and his delegation, comprising some federal ministers and trade officials, will visit the north Indian state of Punjab, it adds.

In other news, the last scion of the Mysore royal family, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, has died at the age of 60 in the southern city of Bangalore on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack.

Wadiyar held the titular role of the Mysore royal family after his father's death in 1974.

Image caption Srikantadatta Narasimharaja was the last scion of the Wadiyar dynasty

Schools, colleges and state government offices are closed on Wednesday in the southern state of Karnataka to honour their "beloved king", The Deccan Herald reports.

Meanwhile, on the first death anniversary of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, rare portraits of the legendary musician, made by renowned film-maker Satyajit Ray, have been made public, reports The Times of India.

The sketches are part of a visual storyboard which the Bengali director had made for a documentary titled A Sitar Recital by Ravi Shankar, which he had planned in the 1950s, it adds.

The portraits will now be released as a book along with some rare interviews.

In sports news, South African cricket coach Russell Domingo feels an Indian team without retired batsman Sachin Tendulkar will be easier to beat in the upcoming two-Test series, reports the NDTV website.

"He (Tendulkar) was a big player for them and was a calming influence in the dressing room. It will be great not having to get Sachin Tendulkar out," the website quoted Domingo as saying.

And finally, thousands of weddings will take place in the Indian capital on Wednesday with couples wanting to take the plunge on the unique date of 11/12/13, reports the Hindustan Times.

However, the day is likely to turn into a nightmare for commuters with police anticipating huge traffic jams due to the marriage processions, it adds.

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