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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

SC seeks 'enlightenment' on VIPs

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 15, 2013
First Published: 01:16 IST(15/3/2013) | Last Updated: 10:57 IST(15/3/2013)

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to "enlighten" it with the origin of the terms - Very Important Person (VIP) and Very Very Important Person (VVIP).

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Taking strong exception to rampant misuse of red-beacon lights, sirens, hooters and security cover, the bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi verbally told additional solicitor general (ASG) Siddhartha Luthra and senior counsel Harish Salve to address the court on the issue of what is meant by the word VIP on April 3. Salve is assisting the court as amicus curaie in the matter related to misuse of VIP security.

"Please enlighten us with the origin of the word VIP and VVIP and what is its place in democratic polity. If identity merges with red-lights, it is a difficult scenario," the bench said expressing concern at the increasing trend of flashing of beacon lights. "Its red-light which matters for policemen on the roads and not the person sitting inside it," the bench observed.

It said the court would on April 3 begin hearing arguments related to use of beacon-lights, sirens and hooters and if required pass guidelines to stop its usage by private persons.

SC has in the past strongly disapproved of police protection given to "all and sundry" including MPs and MLAs facing no security threat. The court took note of the VIP security menace after a petition challenging Z+ security to Pramod Tiwari, a Congress leader in Uttar Pradesh was filed before it. The bench broadened the petition's scope and issued notices to all states asking them to furnish names of the people given security.

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