The Bombay High Court has dismissed a petition seeking to alter India's 'colonial period' designation for airplanes. Dr. Vijaypat Singhania submitted a petition asking the Aviation Ministry to alter the nationality code from VT (Victorian/ Viceroy Territory) to BH (Bharat) or MG (Maharashtra) (Mahatma Gandhi) A petition seeking orders to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to approach the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for a new code or registration alphabets for all aircraft in the country was denied by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. Despite the British colonial rule has ended over 70 years ago, the petition filed by Padmabhushan Dr. Vijaypat Singhania, former chairman emeritus of Raymond Group, and Pune-based registered pilot-businessman Vijay Sethi stated that aircraft in the country continue to use the registration alphabets 'VT' (Victorian or Viceroy Territory).
According to the ICAO's global rules, each aircraft must be registered in a country where it is assigned a registration number that includes one or two letters as the country code, followed by three or four letters of the owner's or carrier's choice, such as "VT-123" in the case of an Indian aircraft. According to the petition, having 'VT' as a country code was a symptom of "colonial persecution by the British," and it is still visible on our planes today. The petition claimed, "The President and Prime Minister of India also utilize planes that appear to be under the command of the British Government." Instead of 'VT,' the petitioners requested a new registration code of 'BH' (short for Bharat) or 'MG' (short for Mahatma Gandhi). The government had sought to alter the code to 'BH' or 'HI' (short for Hindustan), but the letters were not accessible with ICAO, leaving either X or Y as choices. The petition further said that the Aviation Ministry is in contact with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to see whether any other alphabetic titles for aircraft registered in India can be obtained instead of the term 'VT.'
The Bench further observed from the petition that there was no evidence of "breach of any legislative obligation" on the side of the Government of India in prompting ICAO to modify the code assigned to the country. In response to the petitioners' request for information on the attempts to modify the registration code, the Court stated that the petitioners may obtain that information under the Right to Information Act and declined to intervene in the matter.
Tags : #Bombay High Court #Justice SJ Kathawalla #Ministry of Civil Aviation #Justice Milind Jadhav #Aircraft Code