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State security should be given to individuals if threat perception real: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday deprecated the practice of granting security to a person on state expense and taxpayers' money, reflecting an authority of symbol to flaunt his status as a VIP.

State security should be given to individuals if threat perception real: Allahabad HC
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''The threat perception has to be real and the Security Committee has to assess the threat perception, taking into consideration the reports from the Intelligence Unit, the police station concerned and the past record of the applicant,'' the Lucknow bench of the court said.

Dismissing the writ petition filed by a lawyer, a bench of justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Dinesh Kumar Singh said from the records, it was evident that he did not have any real threat to his life and property.

Pronouncing the verdict, Justice Singh observed, ''Security should be provided only to those who face a real threat to their lives for having done some work in the interest of the society or the nation from terrorist/naxalite or organised gangs and not otherwise. A personal enmity with others would not come within the parameters for assessing the threat perception of the applicant for providing him security.'' The court also directed its registry to send a copy of the judgment to the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary, additional chief secretary (home) and director general of police for compliance and taking a decision, accordingly, for providing security to an individual.

The petitioner, Abhisekh Tiwari, had filed the petition in the court stating that he is lawyer in the Lucknow bench of the court and practises on the criminal side. He also files PILs in the court to raise public interest issues and as such there is a threat to his life and property and he should be granted a security cover.

The petitioner had challenged an order passed in April by the authorities refusing him security on the basis of recommendation made by the High Level Security Committee that he had no real threat to his life and liberty.

Opposing the PIL, additional chief standing counsel Amitabh Rai pointed out that the petitioner's annual income is Rs 4.50 lakh and he never got a complaint lodged with the authorities or an FIR registered against individuals or others, indicating that he had any threat from him or them. The petitioner was earlier granted security from Jaunpur on 10 per cent expenses, though he has no longer any threat perception.

''If the petitioner's contention is accepted, then every advocate practising on the criminal side would be required to be given personal security,'' Rai said.

Turning down the petitioner's plea, the bench further observed, ''As a matter of principle, private individuals should not be given security at state cost unless there are compelling transparent reasons, which warrant such protection, especially if the threat is linked to some public or national service they have rendered and the security should be granted to such persons until the threat abates. But if the threat perception is not real, it would not be proper for the government to grant security at the cost of taxpayers' money and to create a privileged class.''

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