New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in Delhi High Court seeking direction to Centre Government to change the Call Sign 'VT' written on Indian aircraft which stands for 'Victorian Territory and Viceroy Territory'.
The plea stated that, even after 75 years of Independence, VT, which is a sign of slavery, still exists.
The petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, practising advocate and BJP leader stated that Britain set the prefix 'VT' for India before the partition in 1929.
"The British set the code for all the colonies starting with V. However, countries like China, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka changed their codes later. While in India, the prefix has remained on the aircraft even after 93 years, which offends the right to dignity of citizens," the plea stated.
The plea further stated that the use of the VT symbol denotes us still being Victorian Territory and Viceroy Territory, which is true but the government refuses to get it changed or even make an effort even after 75 years of Independence.
The petitioner submits that most of the countries which went through colonial servitude have got rid of their colonial signs and launched nationalist code. 'VT' is not a symbol of pride but a matter of shame, if we are still using it when our nation is free.
BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay further states in the petition that even our Prime Minister travels to other nations 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? Pakistan had their 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'," it stated.
The plea also stated that the prefix 'VT', which 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. All the domestic airlines have the prefix, which is followed by unique alphabets that define the aircraft and who it belongs to.
According to the petition copy, "the organizations responsible for assigning the call sign are International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Futile efforts were made in the past regarding the change of call sign for our nation's aircraft but all was in vain, as they responded by saying that India could not get BA (Bharat) and IN (India) as China and Italy have already taken up the 'B' and 'I', respectively,".
"The then Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had stated that because India could not get a code of its choice, it will function with "VT' only. This is absurd, as on researching call signs for various other countries, petitioner found that more than one country uses the same primary alphabet with differing secondary alphabets.
"For example, Argentina, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Norway, use the signs 'LV/LQ', 'LZ', 'LY', 'LX' and 'LN', respectively. Similarly, Haiti, Honduras, Korea and Panama use 'HH', 'HR', 'HL' and 'HP', respectively. Petitioner submits that some countries even use single alphabets like Canada 'G', China 'B', France 'F', Germany 'G', Italy 'I', United States of America 'N' and United Kingdom 'G'.
"Petitioner submits that if these countries can do it, so can India and bring freedom from the feeling of slavery by rejecting the call sign provided to us by our former rulers," the plea reads.