The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday 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".
The Court felt compelled to seek the aforesaid information, taking note that a number of matters have come to be listed before it where security cover was sought by the petitioners on "flimsy grounds" and after the interim orders were passed, the same were never pursued.
The Single Bench was hearing the petitioner, who is a practicing Advocate in the High Court, and who had filed the present plea way back in the year 2017, praying that the state not withdraw and restore the security/PSO provided to him in view of threat perception to him as per the field report of the Senior Superintendent of Police, which had also been subsequently verified.
"The ground on which the protection was sought is that the petitioner had filed a Public Interest Litigation in this Court pertaining to security of the Hon'ble retired Judges and the Court complexes. On that basis, he apprehended threat to his life", recorded the bench.
The Court noted that the petitioner relied on the report dated 22.03.2016 from Senior Superintendent of Police (CID) Special Branch (SB) to Additional Director General of Police, CID, J&K, mentioning that there may be threat to his life. On that basis, vide order dated 08.04.2017, the petitioner was provided one PSO for a period of one month. Subsequently, vide order dated 15.05.2017 again, on the request of Senior Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police, DAR DPL, Jammu was asked to provide security to the petitioner provisionally for a period of one month. Thereafter, the petitioner did not allow the competent authority to review threat perception but rushed to this Court seeking continuation of the security already provided, "as if the expertise to provide security cover or assess threat perception to any person is available with the Court".
The bench further observed that on 22.06.2017, while issuing notice to the respondents, the arrangement already given vide order dated 08.04.2017 and 15.05.2017, was directed to continue. "Thereafter, as usual practice, neither the petitioner nor respondents were interested to pursue the present matter because the petitioner got final relief by way of an interim order and the respondents either keep quite or are made to sleep over", commented the bench.
"Though the counsel had been regularly appearing in Court in different matters before the lockdown was imposed on account of COVID- 19 Pandemic and even thereafter but never thought of getting the present matter listed as he was happy with the interim order passed. This is not a case in isolation where the matters are not listed after interim orders are passed...", stated the bench, calling for the data from the state authorities.
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