The Bombay High Court has said that the Maharashtra government was only holding meetings but taking no action on the issue of police protection provided to people and recovery of dues from VIPs, including politicians. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate, Sunny Punamiya, seeking direction to the state police to recover dues from VIPs, including politicians and Bollywood personalities, who have been provided security cover but have not paid till date.
The court had in September this year directed the government to review each and every case in which police protection has been given, to see if the security was still required for that person. When the petition came up for hearing on November 2, the government’s lawyer informed the high court that meetings were held by the officials concerned on the issue but a decision is yet to be taken and hence, sought adjournment.
Irked with this, Chief Justice Chellur said, “Only meetings…meetings…meetings…no action. A committee set up by the government has given suggestions in the past on the issue. Why can’t the government take some decision based on them. Or else I will pass a detailed order.” The court then posted the petition for hearing on November 16.
On the earlier hearing in September, the high court had said the policemen should not become private guards. Chief Justice Chellur had then said that the state police is not meant for all this. Protection must be given in rarest of rare cases. Not as a matter of giving for the sake of it. For normal cases there are private firms.
She said why should the public exchequer’s money be wasted on people who do not deserve protection. She also said that people who can afford must pay. The high court had previously directed the state government to revisit its policy on providing police protection to private persons.
The court directed the state to streamline the process to ensure that only those who deserve police protection should be provided it. The PIL claimed that around 1,000 personnel from the state police were deployed for providing protection to private individuals. The plea also claimed that around 600 policemen in Mumbai were deployed for protection duty.