Ban on sunfilm coating and the concept of VLT
A supreme court ruling in May 2012 declared sunfilm coating on cars as impermissible throughout India. We had purchased our first car in April only and got the sunfilm coated on it as a free accessory but we will have to get it removed now as Bangalore police has issued a strict warning against the use of sunfilms. Failure to comply will result in a fine of Rs 300 (and the car will be seized from repeat offenders). There are news that traffic police has already started penalizing people in Delhi and Chandigarh.
There is still some confusion in people's mind regarding the permissible visibility of sunfilms as some of them claim that as long as the visibility (measured as Visual Light Transmission - VLT) is above 70% for windscreens and 50% for windows, it is not illegal. But unfortunately that is not true. Actually the current ruling of Supreme court especially covers this issue and declares any sunfilm as impermissible. Here is the relevant quote from supreme court ruling (WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 265 OF 2011, dated April 27, 2012):
"In light of the above discussion, we have no hesitation in holding that use of black films or any other material upon safety glass, windscreen and side windows is impermissible. In terms of Rule 100(2), 70 per cent and 50 percent VLT standard are relatable to the manufacture of the safety glasses for the windshields (front and rear) and the side windows respectively. Use of films or any other material upon the windscreen or the side windows is impermissible in law. It is the VLT of the safety glass without any additional material being pasted upon the safety glasses which must conform with manufacture specifications."
One good news though, the bangalore traffic police has extended the grace period till 5th June 2012 (earlier it was till May 19th). Here is the press release:
"The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Writ Petition No: 265/2011 has prohibited the use of black films of any Visual Light Transmission or any other materials upon the safety glasses, wind screen (Front and Rear) and side glasses of all the vehicles throughout the country. Further, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has directed Police to ensure compliance with this direction. The direction contained in this judgment is operative and enforceable with effect from 04-05-2012.
In view of the above, vehicle owners and drivers of all the classes of vehicles are hereby requested to remove black films or any other tinted materials upon the wind screens (Front and Rear) and side glasses of their vehicles. Initially 15 days time till 19th May, 2012 was given for all vehicle owners to remove the black films from the vehicles. Since many citizens and other organizations are seeking more time for removal of black films, the deadline is extended up to 5th June, 2012. All vehicle owners are once again requested to remove the black films and comply with the orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on or before 05th June, 2012."