The Punjab & Haryana High Court on Thursday (17th September) asked the Punjab State Government to inform the Court about the number of persons, who have been provided security beyond the State Security Policy 2013.
Also, the Court has asked for the list of those persons, who have been allowed security but are not holding any public office (other than any security provided to the Judicial Officers).
Notably, the Bench of Justice Jaishree Thakur was hearing the plea of former Punjab deputy speaker, Bir Devinder Singh who has challenged the state government's decision to withdraw his security cover on June 23.
Significantly, a stand was taken by the respondent-State that the petitioner is not entitled to security cover as an Ex MLA as per State Security Policy 2013.
To this, a rejoinder was filed by the Petitioner giving details of certain former MLAs who have been provided with the security cover.
Addl. Advocate General Rameeza Hakim sought some time to file a counter thereto. However, as an interim measure, the court has asked the state Government to provide Punjab deputy speaker, Bir Devinder Singh two security personnel.
Matter has been listed for further hearing on 27.10.2020.
It may be noted that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court last month called for information from the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Police regarding the security cover provided to private or political persons and retired employees and the assessment of the threat perception to them.
The Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal also sought to be apprised of the policy in this regard and periodic review made for the purposes.
"Security cover to any person is provided at the state expense for which contribution is made by the tax-payers", observed the Single judge. Justice Bindal continued to observe that it is not "a luxury" to be provided to any person as a "status symbol".
Case Title: Bir Devinder Singh v. State of Punjab and others
Case No.: CWP No.12640 of 2020 (O&M)
Quorum: Justice Jaishree Thakur
Appearance: Advocate R.S. Bains (for the Petitioner); Addl. A.G., Punjab Rameeza Hakim, with AAG Avinit Avashti. Senior Advocate S.P. Jain Additional Solicitor General with Central Govt. Counsel Saigeeta Srivastava (for respondent No.4-UOI).
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