The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Allahabad high court’s (HC) order directing the Uttar Pradesh government to provide ‘Z’ category security to BSP MLA and former state energy minister Ramvir Upadhyaya.
A bench of Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi also stayed the HC order for giving security to Vinod Singh, who was tourism minister in the Mayawati government. The apex court passed the order on an appeal by the state government challenging the HC’s order on the ground that there was no security threat to the former ministers and pleaded the court to set aside it.
Upadhyaya opposed the state government’s plea and submitted to the court that the HC order should not be stayed. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for him, contended that the apex court should pass the order after hearing the case on merit. The bench, however, stayed the HC order and posted the case for further hearing on July 9.
“Everyone is equal before the Supreme Court whether it is a minister or common man. Article 21 is equally applicable to all,” the bench observed. Upadhyaya was given ‘Y’ security cover during the Mayawati regime but the present Samajwadi Party government withdrew the protection and he was provided only an armed constable for his protection.
Pleading for security cover, he had submitted that he had been attacked several times and needed protection and that the security was withdrawn because of political vendetta after the change of government in the state. While an ‘X’ category protectee gets a security cover of two personnel, under ‘Y’ category, there is one personal security officer and one armed guard. ‘Z’ category entails a security cover of twenty-six personnel.
Talking to newsmen in Lucknow on Monday, secretary home Sarvesh Chandra Mishra said the HC, on the application of Upadhaya, had granted security. The government had, thereafter, moved a petition against the order in apex court, which stayed the HC order.