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Have you ever noticed the sign VT on Indian aircraft and wondered what it is? Now a petitioner wants it to be removed and approached the High Court to give orders.

A call sign or registration code is for the identification of an aircraft and the prefix 'VT' is the nationality code that every aircraft registered in India is required to carry.

A petitioner wants the court to direct the Central government to change the call sign 'VT', which means Victorian Territory and Viceroy Territory on Indian aircraft in order to secure the sovereignty of India as well as rule of law, right to freedom, and right to dignity of Indians guaranteed under the Constitution. It said countries such as China, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka had changed the call signs of their aircraft immediately after independence.

"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. For example, on Indigo flights the registration VT is followed by IDV, that is, VT-IDV, for Jet, it is VT-JMV," the petition said.

"Petitioner submits that the registration number of Indian aircrafts marks the legacy of 'British Raj'. 'VT' code is a reflection of colonial rule. India is a sovereign country and hence cannot be a territory of the Viceroy. Why is India continuing with the VT code? The efforts of the government to change the registration code have been fruitless.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said courts are not supposed to change the call sign and it is the government and the lawmakers who legislate.

“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," the bench said.

The petitioner has been asked to put a representation to the government and seek its response but the government is in a dilemma. In a reply to the Parliament it had stated that any change will lead to big financial implications on domestic carriers as all aircraft would have to be grounded till those codes are repainted with new registration code.

In 2004, the aviation ministry had approached the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to change the code but no decision has been taken so far, the petition added. "It is a code given to us in 1929 by British rulers, denoting us as British territory. It is very unfortunate that India, even after 75 years of Independence, retains VT, the symbol of slavery," it said.

 

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