SC dismisses Petitions seeking to Withdraw Z-Plus Security to the Ambani Brothers
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed petition seeking to withdraw Z-plus security cover to the Ambani Brothers and their family members but was disappointed upon the Bombay High Court's view that police should be responsible for providing high level security to those who perceived a threat to their life and were willing to pay for it.
Himanshu Aggarwal filed a special leave petition, challenged the Bombay High Court order dismissing his PIL, through which he had sought to withdraw Z-plus security cover to the Ambani Brothers and their family members on the ground that they were wealthy enough to arrange for their own security instead of the State providing it by incurring expenses from the public exchequer.
The High Court had stated, "It is the duty of the state to ensure maintenance of law and other which included providing security to such citizens who require the same to protect their lives. The revenue of Reliance Industries Limited Corporation has a substantial impact on India's GDP. The threat perception of these private individuals cannot be lightly ignored to deny protection to their lives. Once a threat from a terrorist organization has been found by the respondent state, private respondent's family members to have security protection of the highest category to protect their life and limb cannot be alleged as lacking in substance."
The Counsel Karan Bharihoke told the bench comprising of Hon'ble Justice Ashok Bhushan, Hon'ble Justice R. S. Reddy and Hon'ble Justice M.R. Shah that the extension of Z-plus security to private persons "without any concrete proof of any real threat to them indicates an element of favoritism which is uncalled for, considering the fact that the same constituted a part of central government's resources."
The Bench then inquired into state counsel however, it was found no one was present. Appearing for the respondents, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi said there was a threat perception to the industrialists and their families. "We are paying for the cost of security cover extended to us by the government," Rohtagi said. Bharihoke responded, "It is a personal perception about threat to life. For the state to provide security cover there has to be some reasonable relation between the threat and security cover.
The bench then proceeded to question, "if any citizen perceives a threat to his life and is willing to bear the cost of the security cover, should the state provide it? When was the last time the threat perception to the respondent was reviewed by the State? We don't want to approve that the state should provide security cover to private individuals, if he/she has the capacity to pay for it."
The bench dismissed the appeal, but affirmed that the state would from time to time will review the threat perception to the Ambani's Family and take appropriate measures towards providing them security.
Rohtagi said the Ambani's were ready to pay for it, the bench remarked, "We have no doubt you can pay for it."