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Tinting the Law

May 21, 2012

The Indian Supreme Court passed a new order recently. It seems quite innocuous really. It says that you cannot have any kind of tinted film on your car glass. The order is quite specific – you cannot have tinted film on your glass but the car glasses can be tinted naturally, and have to follow the visibility ratio as directed, which is 50 percent of the side glasses and 70 percent for the front and rear glasses.

I’ve been a great fan of the Supreme Court all my life. I believed that they are the sole organization in India that are protecting our rights and take decisions leading us towards progress.

Which is why this directive left me quite confused. The order was passed to adhere to one of the rules in the Motor Act (or some such thing). The Act has been there for a while and now the Court is merely asking the cops to enforce it, following the rise in crimes like rape in moving vehicles.

This move is supposed to help reduce crime.

How?

That is my question too.

Cops in India are fairly notorious for their laziness. Even on a normal day of checking for drunk driving, bribes are given and accepted quite freely. Yes, we all know that.

And this is a step in helping them get better at their jobs?

But does the Court realise how many women drive back home at night, alone? And we feel confident to drive back home alone at late hours because of that dark shield surrounding us. It would take considerable effort to peek into the car and the chances of someone else realising it is a woman driving are low.

Cops can always stop and question us, if they find anything suspicious about the manner in which we are driving. Yes, please do.

But stripping us of such cover is just exposing us to more drama.

Most people believe we are overreacting. Perhaps we are.

But the fact remains that our cars are a little cocoon. I feel safer in my car with its autolocks and a powerful engine.

My car has broken down fairly early in the night and all I got was gawkers and not a single person to help. I have had people follow us and do the annoying bit of overtaking and then lagging behind in broad daylight.

A vacant stare at a tree while fueling your car can be interpreted by a jobless moron as an invitation to follow your car for 8 kms. And this is yet day time.

Sure, nobody might try to pull you out of your car and do any physical damage.

But the very fact that someone will follow you, heckle and make comments can be quite distressing. Because you do not know where they will stop. And if they will come to your doorstep.

A lot of these women driving around alone also live alone. Will you post cops on our doorstep to protect us?

Who wants to bet that in a few months there will be some cop who will blame the woman for driving alone at night for any mishap that befalls her? It was her fault that she worked late, or partied late. It was her fault that she chose to drive home alone in a country that is supposed to be free.

Other than the fact that the cops can sort of see who is in the car, how does this rule help? Can they make out the features of the person in the car, so in case it is someone notorious and wanted, they can capture him? Can they see the weapons being carried in the car? The drugs? Can they tell by seeing the sort-of blurred features in a fast car that this person is up to no good?

How on earth does this law HELP?

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