Why should state pay for security to those with criminal cases: SC

As the Supreme Court set its scanner on the contentious security cover for VIPs and VVIPs across the country,an affidavit

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: April 4, 2013 12:35:33 am

As the Supreme Court set its scanner on the contentious security cover for VIPs and VVIPs across the country,an affidavit from Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday threw up a list running into 393 pages that names only such persons who have been given security although they had criminal antecedents. Some of them even faced charges like murder and attempt to murder. The list,submitted in a sealed cover in the court,included MPs,MLAs,ministers and a Vice-Chancellor of an agricultural university of Uttar Pradesh.

Not only this,Uttar Pradesh deploys policemen for security of not only 527 MPs and MLAs but also 155 former MPs and MLAs.

As many as 76 others,comprising district and panchayat heads and mayors,have also been given protection,besides chairman of Sangeet Natak Academy,chairman and vice-chairman of state Women Commission,chairman of UP Seat Distribution,vice-chairman of Unification Commission and chairman of UP Commerce and Tax Advisory Committee.

A separate list of “other public functionaries” included additional advocate generals,government advocates,V-Cs and doctors.

Reading out from a note compiled after receiving affidavits of various states,senior advocate Harish Salve told a Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi that Uttar Pradesh has cited no rules for providing security cover but general statements that it is given in cases of emergency or to maintain law and order.

Salve also cited the data of Gujarat government and wondered why suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara,who faces serious charges in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case,and former minister Mayaben Kodnani,who has been jailed in a riot case,were still being given security cover.

In Punjab,around 1,300 public functionaries and private persons have been provided security. Out of these,65 persons,including six MLAs,face criminal charges. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh governments also provide security to a large number of businessmen.

Salve told the Bench that it was inevitable to evolve a mechanism where a defined category of non-constitutional authorities should be given security on a need-based system,subject to periodical reviews.

He also referred to a report by the the Bureau of Police Research and Development,saying available strength of police personnel was “shockingly” less than the total strength because of deployment for VIPs and VVIPs. Salve said the situation was so bad in some states that less than half the police strength was actually available for common man.

“How can in such a situation we expect them (police) to provide security to all the citizens? We once said Delhi has become unsafe but nobody seems to be taking the argument seriously. The problem emanates due to the three letters (VIP) and now they have added a fourth letter to it (VVIP),” observed the court.

“Why should state bear the expenses of giving security to those with criminal cases? If they want they can have their own security. If somebody is facing serious criminal charges like murder,are we to assume they are absolutely falsely implicated? Similarly,businessmen and corporates should spend their own money if they need security…,” observed the bench. “We are not concerned about providing security to a particular person but about the availability of police personnel for protecting citizens.”

Salve said the issue could be dealt under three major headings — whether use of beacons and sirens by persons other than constitutional authorities was lawful; whether security to such persons without a sound system of review was lawful; and whether closure of roads for VIP movements was lawful.

The bench decided to begin with the first issue. ASG Siddharth Luthra,who appeared for the Delhi government,said 27 categories of people have been identified for using beacons and sirens by the Central rules whereas Delhi government has identified 11 authorities.

“Forget about the rules and you tell us how many people de facto use red lights on their vehicles? Why do you only challan those using it unlawfully and not confiscate their vehicles? We assume children and other family members of these authorities also use beacons…,” said the court. It will continue hearing the matter on Thursday.

Who spends how much on protection

DELHI

Rs 19.91 cr

Monthly expenditure on security besides constitutional authorities like Lieutenant Governor,Chief Minister etc

Security to 436 individuals,including 29 who face criminal charges

4,284 personnel from Delhi Police and other forces are involved in their security

UTTAR PRADESH

Rs 14.89 cr

Monthly expenditure on security

527 MPs and MLAs besides 115 ex-MPs and ex-MLAs get security

A list of 393 pages of persons given security despite criminal antecedents

PUNJAB

Rs 15.69 cr

Monthly expenditure,apart from what is incurred on CRPF and CISF

1,294 functionaries and private individuals,including 65 facing criminal charges,get security

GUJARAT

Rs 21.78 cr

Annual expenditure

273 private persons,including 179 witnesses and victims of Gujarat riot cases,given security

45 of those given security face criminal charges

BIHAR

Rs 141.95 cr

Annual expenditure

Total of 3,951 persons given security. This list includes 70 who face criminal charges

MADHYA PRADESH

Rs 21.08 cr

Annual expenditure

375 persons,including 61 facing criminal charges,given security

KERALA

Rs 11.56 lakh

Monthly expenditure

Security to only 33 individuals,including 14 facing criminal charges

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