Court favours review of VIP security

December 3rd, 2008 - 11:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Expressing concern over the security scenario after last week’s terrorist strikes in Mumbai, the Delhi High Court Wednesday expressed its unhappiness at the deployment of a number of security personnel to protect VIPs and sought a reply from the government.Hearing a petition, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar refrained from passing any further order but asked the government to file a compliance report on its earlier orders on this matter by Feb 4.

“It’s a policy matter and we cannot interfere much in it,” it said.

“With the recent terror attacks, the security scenario has changed in the world,” it observed.

During the last hearing, the court examined a list of 355 central protectees and raised questions about 71 of them - seven under the Z category, 26 under the Y category and 38 under the X category.

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

“We should not go on 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 was provided due to extraneous reasons and that the protectees flaunted 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.

“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 earlier said.

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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