The public criticism of excess security for VIPs following the Mumbai terror attacks may have led the city’s police to trim down their security, but Supreme Court officials want the police to double the security cover of all apex court judges.
Sources in the Union Home Ministry said the Supreme Court Registry in a letter written to the Delhi Police last week has asked for the judges’ security cover to be doubled. The request comes at a time when police is working to cut down security cover of the VIPs.
“This is a sensitive matter relating to judges’ security. We cannot discuss the details,” said V.K. Jain, Registrar General of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has 24 judges and each has a Personal Security Officer (PSO) round the clock. For a 24-hour security cover, three officers work for eight hours each. In addition to the PSOs, five security guards are deployed at the official residence of every judge.
Sources said the police would have to squeeze out 192 security personnel – enough to staff nearly two police stations - to meet the Supreme Court request.
The letter sent by the Supreme Court Registry has asked that two PSOs accompany each judge round the clock. This would mean posting six PSOs for three eight-hour shifts to provide a 24-hour security cover. It has also been asked to double the number of guards from five to ten at the residence of every judge.
The proposal is under consideration with the Union Home Ministry. Sources said Home ministry officials are in a fix as they are still not sure where to get another 200 policemen to beef up judges’ security cover.
“If additional security is provided to judges it could seriously impact the tough measures that have resulted in cutting down the security cover of politicians, bureaucrats, religious leaders and others. So far 100 security personnel have been withdrawn,” a source said.