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Don’t spend taxpayer’s money on protecting politicians, let political parties do it, says Bombay high court

The court has now asked the state government to ensure that the aspect is appropriately dealt with in its new police protection policy. 

mumbai Updated: Nov 29, 2017 17:59 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,Police protection

“Why should taxpayer’s money be spent on protecting political leaders?” asked the Bombay high court on Wednesday while saying thatpolitical parties should bear the expenses of providing police cover to their respective leaders.

“What we have noticed from the charts (furnished by the government) is that a number of people, who belong to one political party or the other, have been provided police protection,” said the bench. “Let them pay from their respective political funds. Why should the taxpayer’s money be spent on protecting them?” the judges said.

The court has now asked the state government to ensure that the aspect is appropriately dealt with in its new police protection policy. The HC was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Sunny Punamiya, who had complained about the lack of recovery of police protection charges from certain influential people and asked for an audit on protection provided by the Mumbai police.

His PIL said the Mumbai police has deployed 609 policemen to provide protection to 242 people. According to the lawyer, a sum of Rs23.76 lakh is still to be collected from 51 builders, Rs37.52 lakh was due from 14 Bollywood personalities and Rs2.44 crore was due from others, including Rs47.73 lakh from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

On Wednesday, the bench requested advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to look into the draft of the revised police protection policy and ensure that this aspect of providing police cover to political leaders was also appropriately dealt with in the new policy.

The bench also requested him to look into another aspect of the draft policy – not to grant police protection to people with a criminal background, if the threat to their life was a consequence of their own actions.

Maharashtra home department has revised its 2009 policy, as ordered by the court in September 2017. But the bench on Tuesday criticised the exercise after noticing that the revised draft was nothing but a copy of the 2009 policy with a few changes.

The bench had, therefore, requested the advocate general to appear before it. Accordingly, Kumbhakoni appeared before the bench on Wednesday and assured the judges that he will look into the draft and submit a revised draft on Thursday.

First Published: Nov 29, 2017 17:59 IST