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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

VVIPs? What VVIPs, court asks UP government

Brij Khandelwal, Hindustan Times   July 10, 2013
First Published: 21:17 IST(10/7/2013) | Last Updated: 21:22 IST(10/7/2013)

Power should be supplied to all consumers in Uttar Pradesh without discrimination irrespective of the place of residence, the Allahabad high court ruled on Wednesday.

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The court gave the ruling after asking the government to explain what was meant by 'VVIP', and the rationale behind supplying uninterrupted power to chosen districts in the state.

The division bench said that except in the case of the city of Agra and the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone, power should be supplied to all consumers without discrimination.

The court held recently that 24-hour electricity supply to places like Etawah, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Rampur, Sambhal, Rai Bareily and Amethi was "arbitrary, illegal and illogical".

All these areas are represented in parliament, and in the Uttar Pradesh assembly by leaders of the Congress and Samajwadi Party including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mualayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav.

The government told the court that these places were chosen for unending power supply in view "of the importance of the areas and ... protocol and security of VVIPs during their declared or undeclared visits".

The court inquired from the respondents what was meant by the terms VVIP and protocol.

"Who are those so-called VVIPs and what is their protocol, which requires and compels respondents to maintain continuous supply in certain and particular places and deprive such benefit (in other) parts of the state."

After observing that counsel for the respondents could not answer the query, the court said: "Their predicament is quite apparent and  understandable. Silence speaks a volume."

"The mere fact that a city has patronage of an unknown alleged VVIP or a highly placed and mighty person would not justify 24 hours supply to the  consumers in his constituency, depriving other consumers a similar  treatment", the court said.

"This is wholly irrational, illogical and patently arbitrary. Moreover,  the alleged pretext of protocol and VVIP is a sheer eyewash and in any case impermissible in law."

The court quoted from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary to say that there was a term called VIP but there was no mention of VVIP.

The court said the term 'VVIP' apparently meant that there was a higher class, even amongst the celebrity or class of very important persons.

The hard-hitting judgment considers the government decision violative of article 15 of the Indian constitution.

Senior advocate KC Jain said: "This definitely qualifies to be an eye-opening judgement and a clear exposure of the high-handedness of the political class."

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