Observing that the police force was not the personal property of the chief minister, the Supreme Court on Thursday sought to know from the Uttar Pradesh Government the legal basis of its policy on providing state security to various persons including politicians and student leaders with criminal background.
“Under what rules security has been provided?” a Bench of Justice SB Sinha and Justice Markandey Katju sought to know from Uttar Pradesh Advocate General SMA Kazmi.
As Kazmi said that rules have been framed for this purpose, the Bench retorted, “You have not been following the rules. As Advocate General you have concealed the information.
“It is not the chief minister’s personal property. It is governed by statutory rules,” the Bench, which is hearing of UP Government’s appeal against an Allahabad High Court order to withdraw the gunners provided to student leaders, political workers, contractors and persons with criminal antecedents in the poll-bound state, said.
As Kazmi replied that the policy framed in April 2001 was there, the Bench emphasised that under Article 162 of the Constitution executive power must be referable to some statute.
When Kazmi said that he would seek instructions on the issue, the Bench said, “We are asking the Advocate General. We want to know, before we lay down the law, where from the power to frame the policy emanated. What is the source of that power?” it asked.
After Kazmi failed to point out the authority of law under which the April 2001 policy on providing gunners to five categories of persons was framed, the court gave him two weeks to find out the legal basis whatsoever for the policy.
A Bench of Justices SB Sinha and Markandey Katju, which pulled up the state government for not providing the required information, gave two weeks to furnish it. It also sought the presence of the state home secretary on the next date of hearing.
Earlier, the bench did not allow senior counsel Harish Salve to argue on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh Government as the Advocate General had already started the arguments.
UP Government has requested the apex court to stay the December 13, 2006 order of the high court on the ground that the blanket order for withdrawal of security cover without assessing the threat posed to those protected could endanger their lives.
There are about 2,000 persons provided gunners by the Uttar Pradesh Government. Over 730 have already lost the security cover following the order of the high court, which would further hear the matter on February two.
On a petition filed by one Gayur Hasan, the HC had asked the state government to withdraw the gunners provided to student leaders within 24 hours while giving four weeks to take back the security cover from political workers, contractors and criminal elements. The order had come within days of sine die closure of Lucknow University due to student unrest.