SC seeks details on security to VIPs

New Delhi, Feb. 14: The Supreme Court today gave states and Union territories four weeks to submit comprehensive details on security provided to VIPs at the taxpayer's cost.

But the order, which came on a PIL by an Uttar Pradesh resident, would not cover expenses incurred for the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and other constitutional functionaries.

On January 17, the court had sought a response from the states and Union territories on restricting beacon lights, insignia and VVIP security only for top constitutional functionaries.

The bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale today expressed concern over the frequent blockade of traffic by police to facilitate movement of VIPs. "How many people have died after not being able to reach hospitals?" they asked amicus curiae Harish Salve.

After Salve explained that a number of people with no threat perception have been granted security at public cost, the bench said: "We are being indifferent as a nation…. Society is least concerned about the life of the poor. We don't know what is the value of human life. Where do all these rules for sirens and beacon lights come?" Salve said the respective police commissioners issue the permission.

The bench then passed the order seeking details on the following:

Total number of persons other than dignitaries granted security at state's expense

Security provided to family members of VIPs

Persons who are facing criminal charges but enjoy security at state expense

Private individuals who get security from the state but pay for it

Rules that allow the police to close movement of traffic to allow VIP convoys to pass.

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