Government asked to file reply over VIP security

July 23rd, 2008 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the central government to file a detailed affidavit over the security cover provided to VIPs under various categories. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralildhar asked the government to file the reply by September.

On the last date of hearing, the court examined a list of 355 central protectees and raised questions about seven of them under Z category, 26 under Y category and 38 under X category.

The bench also examined the list of people protected by Delhi Police and expressed surprise on some of the names in the list.

Observing that gun-totting security personnel make VIPs easily identifiable and vulnerable to attack, the court favoured a fresh thinking on the VIP security management.

It felt that security cover should not become a status symbol or a pretext for getting government accommodation in a VIP area.

“We should not go like a colonial system. In a democratic system we should move in an orderly manner,” observed the bench hearing a public interest litigation on law and order situation in the capital.

Petitioner Rajiv Awasthi alleged that in most cases, security cover has been provided due to extraneous reasons and that the protectees flaunt their protection.

He said the home ministry had admitted that in certain cases, protectees tried to overplay the level of threat to them in order to become eligible for government accommodation on security considerations.

The observation had come after Delhi Police filed a list of 391 VIPs protected by it along with the number of personnel provided to each of them.

The list included Gowri Advani, former daughter-in-law of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, former central minister Jagmohan’s son-in-law, journalist Tarun Tejpal and some lawyers and witnesses in prominent court cases like those relating to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and the Taj Corridor scam.

“We cannot appreciate this. You have made a mockery of the threat perception. The common man is dying in the streets of Delhi and old couples are being strangulated due to lack of security,” the bench had said.

According to the list, Delhi Police were providing security to 37 VIPs while the remaining were being protected by the home ministry.

In an affidavit filed in the court Oct 5 last year, Delhi Police said 9,167 police personnel of all ranks were manning security for the president, vice-president, prime minister, central ministers, judges of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court, other protected people, VIP routes and VVIP areas.

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