A plea was filed in the Delhi High Court on Thursday seeking to direct the Centre to change the call sign 'VT' on Indian aircraft, saying that the prefix stands for Victorian Territory and Viceroy Territory which is a legacy of the British Raj.
The plea said the call sign or the 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.
The petition sought to direct the Central government to change the call sign 'VT' on Indian aircraft 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, saying countries like China, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka had changed the call signs of their aircraft immediately after the independence.
''The code is generally seen just before the rear exit door and above the windows. All 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-JVM,'' the petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said.
It said the prefix marks that the aircraft has been registered in the country and it is mandatory in all countries and the registration of the aircraft is required to appear in its Certificate of Registration and an aircraft can only have one registration in one jurisdiction.
''Petitioner submits that the registration number of Indian aircraft 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.
''In 2004, the aviation ministry approached the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to change the code but no decision has been taken so far. 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.
The petitioner has arrayed Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Civil Aviation, and Law and Justice as parties to the petition.