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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chennai implements Apex Court order on tinted glass

Chennai city is abuzz with activity – vehicles are being stopped – owners get out and get into argument with the Police Officer.  Many either pretend ignorance or argue on what is permissible limit. Eventually, Police prevails and they end up paying Rs.100/- as fine – but that is only a beginning…….  – as the second time and subsequent times, the fines would be higher.

Tinted glass refers to any glass that has been treated with a material such as a film or coating, which reduces the transmission of light through it. Glass can be tinted with various types of coating, which block and/or reflect different amounts and types of light, according to the needs and preferences of the consumer.  There are many types of window tint available in the market for a wide variety of uses from solar heat reduction to UV protection, privacy to safety and security, decorative applications to heat retention.   Heat rejection films are normally applied to the interior of flat glass windows to reduce the amount of infrared, visible light, andultraviolet (UV) radiation entering windows.
car with black tinted glass

The coloured or tinted glasses that have a film affixed on the door glasses on side and at the back reduces the visible light transmission through the car windows and would protect those inside from the hot sun, would also enhance the efficiency of air-conditioners – it can pose trouble to the driver as the vision of things outside gets restricted, especially during night times.  As a natural corollary, those inside are not seen from outside and this sometimes helps anti-social elements.  Law Enforcing Agencies are concerned that they would not be able to see and identify those inside the vehicle with tinted glasses.  In many jurisdictions, there are laws to ensure darkness of films do not present a danger to motorists and also ensure proper identification by Police.

Understand that the laws of every state in the U.S. regulate the degree to which car windows can be tinted, especially the front windows.   In India, things change  when there is rule and only when it is strongly implemented.   The Supreme Court recently,  banned the use of tinted glass, restricting visions beyond permissible limit as fixed under the Motor Vehicles Act, in vehicles.  A bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, however, made it clear that tinted glass can be used in vehicles of government officials for security purposes and asked the state governments to frame guidelines regarding this.  The Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, says that the glasses of windscreen and rear windows of vehicles should have a visual light transmission of 70 per cent and for side windows it should be at least 50 per cent.  The court passed the order on a plea seeking complete ban on use of dark films on car windows, including the vehicles used by VVIPs, alleging that many crimes in cities were committed by people using such cars with tinted windows.

The petitioner, Avishek Goenka, had contended that he had 25 RTI query replies from various police stations to back his claim that many crimes, including sexual assault on women, were committed by offenders who used cars with tinted glasses to evade public gaze and conceal their identity.

The week starting 21st May 2012 has been different for Motorists (4 wheeler owners) in Chennai, as the  Chennai traffic police  started penalizing those who have black films on their cars.  The police have installed sign boards at various junctions in the city to raise awareness on the Supreme Court's April 27 order banning tinted glasses. "The sign boards have been put up on important roads like Anna Salai, Pattulos Road and at landmarks such as Labour Statue, Anna Statue and the Royapettah bell clock," said an Egmore police officer.  The fine is Rs 100 for a first-time offence and Rs 300 for successive violations.

Police officers said they had roped in people for the job. "We have mobilised resources and will fine as well as remove tinted films on the spot," additional commissioner of police Sanjay Arora said.  Though the SC order allows for 70% transparency for windshields and 50% transparency for windows, if the car is comes with tinted glasses, there is a blanket ban on using films after purchase of the vehicle.  Police checked vehicles at 24 spots in the city. "There are 12 assistant commissioners in the city and each was told to monitor two locations," Arora said.

Officers said motorists initially resisted when policemen booked them. Many said they were not aware of the rule and pleaded to be let off, said an officer from Egmore. "But there have been several news reports and we put up signboards at junctions to raise awareness," he said. "We also posted messages on Facebook. There was no reason for them not to know the rule."   Near Periyar Statue on Anna Salai, the police were armed with newspaper clippings and a copy of the apex court order.

In a live incident, a SUV was made to stop.  The man at the wheels was asked to come out.  Stepping down, he started arguing that he was not aware of the rule.  The Police Officer coolly told him that he need to know, especially when it is the hop topic in TV and in newspaper.  Then the car owner said that what he had was not black.  Officer : ‘black or blue’ as long as it is invisible, it is violation. The man still argued that it is visible to him from outside.  The cop coolly called a man walking on the road; who came nearer with some trepidation.  Cop asked the man – ‘are you able to see inside’.  Without battling an eye-lid that man said, ‘No Sir’.  The Cop turned to the owner and said ‘see, even this gentleman is not able to see what is inside your car’ – you better pay the fine.  He concluded swiftly by printing an e-generated challan

… now most Car owners are driving with fear that they would be stopped and fined.  The technicians to remove the sun film are not readily available.  They state that removing the glass sheet is simple but removing the adhesives is quite a job and would take more than 2 hours.  They do the job with the aid of razor blade, alcohol and car shampoo.  The adhesive has to be removed as it will be  difficult to see when it is left on the clear window.  Steam is also used to aid in tint removal.
after removal - inside visible now

Fortunately I could find one technician who has removed the light-tint, I had on my car after charging Rs.500/-

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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  2. i read this after a ticket fine by Police.. if only i had read this earlier - Gaurav

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