The Uttar Pradesh Government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging an Allahabad High Court order to withdraw the security cover provided to student leaders, political workers, contractors and persons with criminal antecedents in the poll-bound state.
In a special leave petition, UP Government requested the apex court to stay the December 13, 2006 order of a Division Bench of Allahabad 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.
Senior Counsel Harish Salve mentioned the UP Government's petition before a Bench headed by Justice BN Agrawal, which posted the matter for hearing on January 25.
The High Court had directed the State Government to withdraw the gunners provided to student leaders within 24 hours while giving four weeks to withdraw the security cover from political workers, contractors and criminal elements.
Following the High Court order the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government had to withdraw the gunners provided to about three dozen student leaders in the state.
Within days of the announcement of sine die closure of Lucknow University due to student unrest, the HC had ordered withdrawal of security provided to student leaders, political workers, contractors and criminal elements.
On a petition filed by one Gayur Hasan, a Division Bench of the HC had directed the UP government to withdraw the gunners from all ineligible private persons like students, student leaders, contractors, criminal elements and political workers.
Observing that security cover can no longer be a status symbol or for protection for illegal activities, the HC had made it clear that no exception could be made simply on the ground that there was some threat of life to a person if the person given security had any criminal antecedents.
It had said that no person could be provided security on the mere desire or direction of the chief minister or any other authority and security had to be provided strictly in accordance with the objective and fair norms laid down in the relevant government orders.
The HC had also observed that there was no power with any authority howsoever high to distribute largesse in the form of gunners for security. In case any exception had to be made, it will only be in those cases where the private persons were witnesses to a serious crime and that too only if he/she had no criminal antecedents.
Earlier, the HC had pointed out that the number of persons provided security was in excess of 2,207 mentioned by the state government and the correct figure had not been provided.
There had been public outrage over the use of gunners by student union leaders and anti-social elements in the garb of contractors who had been using the armed men to threaten the common man.
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