HC asks petitioner to approach Centre for changing call sign ‘VT’ on Indian aircraft

The Delhi High Court on Monday asked advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who had filed a petition seeking direction to the Centre to change the call sign ‘VT’ written on Indian Aircrafts, to give a representation to the Centre on the issue.

Mr. Upadhyay wanted the sign changed, citing that it stands for ‘Victorian Territory’ or ‘Viceroy Territory’, a legacy of British Raj.

Noting that the Centre was the deciding authority in the matter, a Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said, “We are not supposed to do it. Government does it, not us. They are the lawmakers. We do not legislate. You approach the government first”.

During the brief hearing, the Central government submitted that Mr. Upadhyay can always make a representation to the government and the concerned ministry.

Advocate Upadhyay, in his plea, said the prefix ‘VT’ is the nationality code that each aircraft registered in India is required to carry. The code is generally seen just before the rear exit door and above the windows.

Mr. Upadhyay said all the domestic airlines have the prefix ‘VT’, which is followed by unique alphabets that define the aircraft and who it belongs to.

‘Matter of shame’

According to the plea, Britain set the prefix ‘VT’ for all the colonies in 1929. While countries such as China, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka changed their call signs after Independence, the prefix has remained on Indian aircraft even after 93 years.

“VT is not a symbol of pride but a matter of shame, if we are still using it when our nation is free,” Mr. Upadhyay said.

“Even our Prime Minister travels to meet world leaders in Air India One B747-437, with a call sign VT-EVB. Is the Prime Minister a leader of a free democratic country or of a Viceroy Territory?” the plea argued.

It cited that Pakistan had its call sign changed to ‘AP’ after bifurcation. Similarly, Bahamas changed the sign from ‘VP-B’ to ‘C6’, Nepal changed to ‘9N’, Sri Lanka from ‘VP-C’ to ‘4R’ and Zimbabwe from ‘VP-W’ to ‘Z’.

According to international laws governed by the UN, the aircraft of every nation must specify the name of the country to which it belongs, using a unique alphanumeric code. The code containing five characters should have two letters showing the country’s code (‘VT’ in India’s case) and the remaining should indicate the aircraft company.

Mr. Upadhyay said there have been demands for a very long time to change the code as it is a vestige of the colonial regime, but successive governments did nothing.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2022 10:48:49 pm |