Do the terms VIP and VVIP need to be defined?
There is no definition of a VIP / VVIP though the usage is widespread all over the country. The term has been used:
- To avoid payment of toll tax
- For availing the reservation in Hqrs quota of railways
- Even cremation grounds and toilets amongst a host of other facilities
Mr Veeresh Malik filed RTI applications seeking information from the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and other organisation. Replies from the PMO, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Surface Transport and Ministry of Railways, and a few other government bodies which use or used the term ‘VIP’ appear not to be categorical though the number of people who are using the facilities continues to grow exponentially.
It appears from the replies that there is no definition for the term VIP/ VVIP. For availing the benefit of an out-of-turn reservation, a letter from ‘higher officials’ is enough. The quotas for VIPs and “emergency quotas” are based on a “well-established practice” which has been followed since independence. The “Warrant of Precedence” is the document relied upon for the release of quota even though the note number 1 clearly states: “The order in this Table of Precedence is meant for state and ceremonial occasions and has no application in the day-to-day business of the government. The “Warrant of Precedence” is also quoted as the document by which VIPs are exempted from paying toll tax.
There have been cases of stampede at temples or gatherings due to arrival of a VIP who bypasses all the queue. Allotment of houses or any other facility has often been bestowed upon to the VIPs. In the absence of a clear definition, anyone can claim use the term VIP to avail a benefit.
Should the Warrant of Precedence apply to the day-to-day matters of governance? Unless a concrete shape is given to the idea of VIP/VVIP, the likelihood of the misuse of the term is huge.