NEW DELHI (TIP): The Supreme Court on Thursday stumped the Centre by asking it about the genesis of the oft-used terms “VIP” and “VVIP” in official circles and wanted to know the necessity of these words in a democratic country like India. “We would like to be enlightened about the origin of VIP and VVIP and its place in our democratic polity,” a bench of Justices G S Singhvi, Ranjana Desai and Kurien Joseph said. Intrigued by the commonly employed classification of public functionaries as VIPs and VVIPs (meant to connote very important persons and very, very important persons) for deciding the level of security cover, the bench asked amicus curiae Harish salve and additional solicitor general Siddharth Luthra to inform the rationale behind it in a democratic polity. It said, “The issue requires detailed debate on the use of red lights, hooters and sirens by private individuals and socalled VIPs.” It asked the Centre to respond by April 3, the next date of hearing.
The court had sought details from states and Union Territories on the number of personnel deployed for security of VIPs and expenses incurred on providing security to private individuals and public functionaries other than the President, vice-president, prime minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and Chief Justice of India. The court said on April 3, it would also focus on the misuse of beacon lights issued to public functionaries. “People who have been permitted to use red beacon lights on official cars have altered rules and using it on their private vehicles too,” it said. The bench also frowned at the common sight of gunwielding security personnel accompanying VIPs to restaurants, malls, public functions and seminars, saying it had an intimidating effect on the common men.