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SC questions crores on VIP security

New Delhi, Feb. 7: The Supreme Court today questioned the logic behind spending “tens of thousands of crores” on the security of VIPs and “several undeserving” persons, including judges, and suggested the cash and personnel be better used to protect the common man.

The observations of the two-judge bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale come over a month after the Delhi gang rape.

“We can understand security for constitutional heads such as president, PM, Speaker, CJI (Chief Justice of India) and their state counterparts, but what is the requirement of security to the judiciary? What is the purpose of having security for judges of the Supreme Court and high courts?” the judges asked additional solicitor-general Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the Delhi government.

The bench pointed to chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s recent remarks that women felt unsafe in the capital. “If the tens and thousands of crores spent on VIP security is spent in a better way, the city would become safe for everybody.”

The court posted the matter for further hearing on February 14 and directed states to submit within two days details on the extent of security provided to various persons and the expenses. The bench warned the home secretaries would have to appear in person if they failed to comply with the directive.

“What about those who are out of office? Do they still require security?” the judges asked after going through a Delhi government affidavit that said 368 persons enjoyed security at government expense.

The observations come less than a month after the court sought a response from states on a petition seeking to limit the use of beacon lights, insignia and VVIP security to constitutional figures like the President, Prime Minster, Chief Justice of India and chief ministers.