The Punjab government has been directed to withdraw all security personnel it has deployed to protect VIPs residing in other states. Stating that such granting of security has become a status symbol,the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday made it clear that such protectees can only be given temporary security and that too only after prior intimation to the concerned state police.
The court also clarified that in case security is to be provided during transit to a VIP,then it cannot be for more than three days. If this time limit is crossed,the Centre and the concerned state government should furnish full information regarding the security being provided,the court ruled.
The directions were passed by a division bench comprised of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Augustine George Masih on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate H C Arora. The petitioner had challenged the grant of security by Punjab to protectees residing in other states. It is the duty of the concerned states to provide security to their residents, the division bench observed on Tuesday.
The counsel for the Punjab government made an attempt to convince the Bench that it has provided security to certain important people who are or have been associated with the state,but it failed
to cut ice with the Bench. Such security has now become a status symbol. Why cannot the concerned state provide security to its residents? Chief Justice Kaul remarked while speaking for the Bench.
In an affidavit filed before the court,the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had also stated that the responsibility for providing security to an individual lies primarily with the concerned state/UT under whose jurisdiction the individual ordinarily resides. The MHA had also stated that some state governments have provided security personnel to residents of Delhi without intimating the Delhi Police.
The security personnel provided by other states may be an impediment on certain occasions and also have a potential for misuse, its affidavit reads.
Punjab,on the other hand,had contended that it is entitled to deploy its security personnel in other states as it claimed that this does not violate Section 3 and 4 of the Police Act,1888.
Certain protectees have been provided security by the Punjab Police due to their past or present association with affairs of Punjab in some manner. Some of these protectees,such as Iqbal Singh,Governor,Puducherry; BKN Chhibber,former Punjab Governor; Balbir Punj,MP; Tarlochan Singh,former MP,are now based outside the state,but have been provided security by the Punjab Police as they remain closely associated with the affairs of the state and visit it quite frequently, the Punjab governments affidavit reads. It goes on to add that the Punjab Police provides permanent security to some individuals who have residences and offices in more than one state.
The court,however,while ordering the withdrawal of security,directed the state government to submit a complete list of the beneficiaries of such security on August 21.