The Madhya Pradesh High Court said that providing security to businessmen in flimsy pretext is contrary to the “Constitutional Spirit” and undermines the well-being quotient of society at large.

The Gwalior Bench of the Court was dealing with a petition filed by two businessmen seeking direction to the Superintendent of Police to provide them security by deputing a Gunman along with Carbine for the protection of life and property.

A Single Bench of Justice Anand Pathak observed, “Police is for security of common people and those four police personnel who are protecting petitioners would have been employed effectively for preventing the abuse of Girls Molestation or Eve-Teasing, which is rampant in the cities. If those police constables would have been deployed in the vicinity of Girl Colleges or nearby Coaching Tutorials where girls regularly visit for attending classes then the girls would have got relief from the Eve-Teasers and other miscreants. Therefore, looking to the facts from any angle, it appears that providing security to petitioners and alike persons in such manner/flimsy pretext is contrary to the Constitutional Spirit and undermines the well-being quotient of society at large.”

The Bench added that agony further accentuates when such businessmen do not even pay the requisite fees and face the outstanding to the tune of crores of rupees.

Advocate Sanjeev Jain represented the petitioners while Government Advocate Neelesh Singh Tomar represented the respondents.

Factual Background -

The petitioners were the real brothers and businessmen. They preferred the petition with the allegations that they were allegedly threatened by some miscreants for extortion in the year 2005. They lodged a complaint in this regard to provide police security for protection of their lives and property. The Superintendent of Police provided them security for three months because they deposited expenses only for the said period. They prayed before the police authorities for providing police protection on their own expenses time and again.

They made representation to different authorities and in 2008, the Superintendent asked them to remove the police protection given by way of 1-4 guards because they were not making payment to the police department for security provided earlier. In 2010, the Superintendent again directed the police to provide S.A.F. guards for one month because of the threat perception. Not only this, the Additional D.G. intervened in the matter and asked the I.G. to provide the petitioners necessary police protection free of cost, however, ignoring the fact that they already had licenced weapons. When the police protection was withdrawn in 2011, they filed the petition.

The High Court in the above regard noted, “It is painful to know that guards by way of five persons (1-4 guards) were deputed over the residence of petitioners and two guards are given to each petitioner (total four guards) for their personal security. Surprisingly, no payment has been made by the petitioners and basking in the reflected glory of Power/Position/Police. Such conduct deserves strong deprecation. In fact senior Police Officers should be vigilant in such cases and ensure that no person may get the benefit of security on such frivolous pretext.”

The Court illustrated the following instances and conditions in which the security can be provided by the police:

(i) To a poor, underprivileged or Members of Weaker Section of Society or any peace loving citizen facing Revenge/Heat of Powerful or Resourceful People.

(ii) Genuine Whistle blowers and Bonafide Public Activist. Security is not for fake Whistle blowers and for Malicious Public Activist.

(iii) Persons having acute threat perception because of contingencies like deposition as vulnerable witnesses.

(iv) People serving Public/Social/National cause, attracted the ire of powerful people because of their good work and other related matters.

The Court clarified that Constitutional/Statutory and other Authorities also get the facility of security but that is a facility provided to facilitate their working in effective and confident manner, not as Status Symbol.

“So far as plea of police security is concerned, it is neither a Fundamental Right nor a Statutory Right of the petitioners to claim for personal guards from police department. Police is meant for providing protection and security to common man and it is not meant for protecting persons like petitioners for years together that too without assessing threat perception. Regretfully, petitioners misused their position in such a manner that they did not bother to pay requisite fees/ charges”, it said.

Furthermore, the Court observed that how long security can be given to an individual is the question because if security is provided to a person only on the basis of alleged threat perception, then already deficit staff in police department would be deployed in such superfluous activities and Core Duties of Police Department; namely Crime Investigation and tackling Law and Order problem would take a backseat.

“The petitioners' contention that they have taken services of police security on payment does not hold good and logical. In fact, it is contrary to Constitutional Spirit also because all functions of police authorities are to protect the people from the onslaught of Crime and Injustice and Functions of Sovereign is to create Just and Egalitarian Society and not providing special privileges to persons like petitioners (even on payment)”, it also said.

The Court held that the case of the petitioners does not deserve any consideration and directed the Director General of Police, Bhopal and Superintendent of Police, Gwalior to immediately remove the police security given to the petitioners and take appropriate steps for recovery of due amount from petitioners for services rendered in accordance with law including treating dues as arrears of land revenue.

“It is hereby clarified that this Court has never meant to give the security on free of charge. The said interim order was always subject to the Circular/Regulation of the Police Department as well as the discussion as referred above. … As such Festival of Democracy (General Elections) is coming close in March to May, 2024, therefore, police personnel would be required in election duty in more meaningful manner”, it emphasised.

The Court asked to ensure that no frivolous person should get police security and instead those police personnel be employed for tackling the Law and Order situation in the different parts of the State and for Crime Investigation.

“No specific rules or regulations have been provided by respondents regarding decision to be taken for giving police protection therefore, Committee comprising of Principal Secretary, Department of Home, Principal Secretary, Department of Law and Justice and D.G., Police, Bhopal would take appropriate decision/steps in future if Police Protection for some longer period is to be given (more than 7 days) to any genuine person, as per threat perception. For less then 7 days, Inspector General of Police (I.G.P.) Zone would be entitled for giving such protection. However, for vulnerable witnesses, or in some exceptional circumstances for a day or two, Superintendent of Police can also order for Police Protection. Said Committee may discuss the issue and can formulate more effective Rules and Regulations in this regard, because they are expert of their field. Court has given the direction only for the period, when no specific Rules / Regulations exist or presented before this Court”, it concluded.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title- Dilip Sharma S/o Late Omprakash Sharma & Anr. v. State of M.P. & Ors.

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