PIL filed in Delhi HC seeking to change callsign ‘VT’ written on Indian aircraft

New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Delhi High Court to seek direction from the center’s government to change the call sign ‘VT’ on Indian aircraft, which stands for ‘Victorian Territory and Viceroy Territory’.

The plea argued that even after 75 years of independence, VT, which is a sign of slavery, still exists.

The petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a practicing advocate and BJP leader, stated that Britain introduced the ‘VT’ prefix for India before the partition in 1929.

“The British set the code for all colonies starting with V. But countries like China, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka later changed their codes. While in India the prefix has remained on the plane even after 93 years, what an insult is for the right to the dignity of citizens,” the plea read.

The plea went on to say that the use of the VT symbol indicates that we are still Victorian Territory and Viceroy Territory, which is true, but the government refuses to change it or even make an attempt even after 75 years of independence.

The petitioner argues that most of the countries that have experienced colonial slavery have removed their colonial signs and introduced a nationalist code. ‘VT’ is not a symbol of pride but a matter of shame, if we still use it when our country is free.

BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay further states in the petition that even our prime minister travels to other countries 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 viceroyal territory? Pakistan had changed their callsign to AP after the split. Similarly, the 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’, the nationality code that every aircraft registered in India must carry, must be on board. The code can generally be seen just before the rear exit and above the windows. All domestic airlines have the prefix followed by unique alphabets that define the aircraft and who it belongs to.

According to the petition copy, “The organizations responsible for assigning the callsign to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) were unsuccessful, as they responded by saying that India BA (Bharat) and IN ( India) as China and Italy have already taken over the ‘B’ and ‘I’ respectively.”

“The then Minister of Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, had stated that since India could not get a code of choice it will only work with ‘VT’. This is absurd as the petitioner, when investigating callsigns for several other countries, found that more than one country uses the same primary alphabet with different secondary alphabets.

For example, Argentina, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Norway use the characters ‘LV/LQ’, ‘LZ’, ‘LY’, ‘LX’ and ‘LN’ respectively. Likewise, Haiti, Honduras, Korea and Panama use respectively’ HH’, ‘HR’, ‘HL’ and ‘HP’ The petitioner states that some countries even use singular alphabets, such as Canada ‘G’, China ‘B’, France ‘F’, Germany ‘G’, Italy ‘I’ , United States of America ‘N’ and United Kingdom ‘G’.

“The petitioner argues that if these countries can do it, India can do it too and bring liberation from the sense of slavery by rejecting the call sign our former rulers have given us,” the plea reads.

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