VVIPs? What VVIPs, court asks UP government

Agra, July 10 (IANS) Power should be supplied to all consumers in Uttar Pradesh without discrimination irrespective of the place of residence, the Allahabad High Court ordered Wednesday.

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 Taj Mahal 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 the Uttar Pradesh assembly by leaders of the Congress and Samajwadi Party including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mualayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav.

A copy of the judgment was received here Wednesday.

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 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' 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.

"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.

"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 directed the state government to ensure fair and reasonable distribution of power to all "except the area covered by the Taj Trapezium Zone in view of the directions of the apex court".

Senior advocate K.C. Jain told IANS: "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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