Advocate Sticker for Car

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In India, the use of advocate stickers on vehicles has long been a matter of contention, raising questions about privilege, misuse, and adherence to traffic regulations. These stickers, meant to identify practising advocates and offer certain privileges, have become a topic of concern as their misuse often allows individuals to flout traffic laws without facing consequences. 

As we explore into the complexities of this issue, we explore the legal implications, varying state regulations, and the need for a robust system to ensure the responsible use of advocate stickers.

What is Advocate Sticker for Car?

An advocate sticker for a car is a specific type of sticker that represents the legal profession. It is typically issued to practising advocates (lawyers) by the Bar Council of India or the respective state bar councils. The primary purpose of an advocate sticker is to provide identification and recognition to legal professionals and grant them certain privileges.

Advocate stickers are usually placed on the windshields or rear windows of vehicles owned or used by practising advocates. The design of the sticker may vary, but it often includes the symbol or emblem of the Bar Council along with the advocate’s enrollment number or other identification details.

Benefits of Using Advocate Sticker on a Vehicle?

The main benefits of having an advocate sticker on a vehicle are:

  • Designated Parking: Parking spaces are limited in many courts and legal premises. Having an advocate sticker allows the advocate to park in designated parking areas reserved for legal professionals, making it easier for them to access courtrooms and carry out their legal duties efficiently.
  • Easy Identification: The advocate sticker acts as a means of identification for legal professionals. It helps authorities and court staff quickly recognise advocates, ensuring smoother access and entry to courtrooms and other restricted areas.
  • Professional Recognition: Displaying an advocate sticker on a vehicle signifies that the owner is a legal professional, which may enhance their professional reputation among clients and peers.

Law on Using Advocate Stickers in India?

No specific law in India comprehensively governs the use of advocate stickers on vehicles. However, using such stickers is typically regulated by the Bar Council of India and the respective state bar councils through their guidelines and regulations.

Advocate stickers are primarily issued to practising advocates by the Bar Councils. These stickers provide identification and recognition to legal professionals, and they often come with certain privileges, such as designated parking in courts and legal premises.

While there is no direct law specifically addressing advocate stickers, specific legal provisions may come into play if the stickers are misused or if their use leads to any unlawful behaviour:

Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

This section states that whoever contravenes any provision of the Act or any rule, regulation or notification made thereunder shall be punishable with a fine. If advocate stickers are misused or by individuals who are not entitled to them, they might be penalised under this section.

The punishment for using a sticker on a vehicle, which is considered illegal under Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, is as follows: If a car is found with the sticker for the first time, the penalty is a fine of Rs. 100, and for any subsequent offences, the fine increases to Rs. 300.

Misuse of Privileges

Suppose advocate stickers are used to gain undue advantages, evade traffic rules or for any unlawful activities. In that case, the individuals involved may be subject to legal action based on relevant laws and regulations, such as traffic offences, public safety or criminal activities.

It is essential for advocates and other individuals to use advocate stickers responsibly and in accordance with the guidelines set by the Bar Councils. Misusing advocate stickers or using them without proper authorisation could lead to legal consequences.

Who Can Use Stickers on a Vehicle?

The distribution of stickers, including advocate stickers and those given to doctors, is done for valid reasons. The Bar Council of India issues advocate stickers to practising advocates, and the state provides stickers to doctors. The main purpose behind issuing these stickers is to provide identification and recognition to individuals in their respective professions and grant certain privileges.

For instance, advocate stickers help legal professionals in accessing designated parking areas in courts and legal premises where parking spaces may be limited. Similarly, stickers provided to doctors help them find parking easily at hospitals, where parking may also be scarce.

Additionally, advocate stickers aid in identifying lawyers on court premises, allowing for smoother entry and recognition. In courts, vehicles without advocate stickers may require their drivers to show their permit or identification cards every time they enter or exit, which could be inconvenient, especially if they are in a hurry.

However, it is essential to clarify that while these stickers serve valid purposes, they should not be misused or used by individuals who are not entitled to them. Misusing stickers or taking undue advantage of the privileges they confer is not acceptable and may lead to legal consequences.

It’s important to note that the court has allowed government officials to use such stickers only while travelling for official purposes, meaning these stickers should not be abused or misused for personal gains outside official duties.

Ramesh v. The Vice-Chancellor

The case of V. Ramesh v. The Vice-Chancellor, which came before the Madras High Court in 2020, addressed several issues related to vehicle modifications and decorations. The court’s decision provided clarity on certain matters and issued instructions to the vehicle owners based on the questions raised in the case. Below is a summary of the key points from the court’s decision:

Halogen lights, Chinese lights and high beam lights: The court did not mention these types of lights in the provided information. However, the use of certain lights that can potentially blind other drivers or create visibility issues for road users is generally not permitted. Motor vehicle owners should adhere to regulations regarding permissible lights on their vehicles.

Flags and political party names: The court stated that pasting flags and designation boards on the car’s exterior is an attempt to impede police officers from conducting vehicle checks and performing their duties. Such signs or stickers must not be displayed outwardly. If they are considered essential, they should be pasted inwardly, not obstructing visibility from outside the vehicle.

Tinted glasses: The information provided did not mention the court’s specific ruling on tinted glasses. In many jurisdictions, there are rules and regulations regarding the permissible level of tint on vehicle glasses to ensure safety and visibility.

Photographs or portraits of political leaders: The court decided not to allow photographs or portraits of political leaders to be displayed on the dashboard facing outside the vehicle. Such decorations may obstruct the driver’s view or distract other road users.

Display boards in vehicles: The court’s ruling suggests that vehicle owners cannot display boards in their cars according to their whims and fancies. There may be specific guidelines regarding the permissible size and content of display boards on vehicles.

Number boards of vehicles: The court’s decision did not specifically address changing number boards per the owner’s wishes. In most jurisdictions, altering the number plate or registration details without proper authorisation is illegal.

The court ordered the respondents to instruct vehicle owners to remove portraits or photos fixed on the dashboard facing outside the vehicle within sixty days. Failure to comply with this instruction could result in fines and punishments for vehicle owners.

Conclusion

It becomes apparent that there is no specific law that explicitly prohibits the use of taglines and scribbles painted on vehicles. However, it is worth noting that there exists a provision in the Motor Vehicle Act, Section 177, which expressly forbids the use of stickers on vehicles. Despite the Motor Vehicle Act’s broad applicability, this section seems to be somewhat overlooked.

The enforcement of rules regarding stickers varies across different states. In some states, stickers are banned, and individuals may face fines of up to Rs. 300 for non-compliance. Conversely, in other states, stickers are not banned, which permits some people to exploit these stickers to engage in unlawful activities without repercussions.

Stickers assigned to doctors and other prominent professionals serve specific purposes, such as time-saving and facilitating recognition. However, these distinguished individuals sometimes misused these stickers for personal privileges, personal agendas and even for carrying out illegal acts. The same individuals, including advocates, police and press vehicles, may even disregard traffic signals with minimal intervention from law enforcement officers. This raises the question of why certain individuals appear exempt from scrutiny, despite their status as respected and knowledgeable citizens.

While these individuals possess expertise and intellect, they are still citizens and must adhere to the laws and regulations applicable to all. It is crucial to uphold equality before the law and ensure that all citizens, regardless of their occupation or social standing, are held accountable for their actions and behaviour on the roads.


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