Se­cu­rity to retd judges: SC sets aside J&K HC order

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - REGION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

The Supreme Court on Tues­day over­turned Jammu and Kash­mir high court or­ders with re­gard to se­cu­rity cover for re­tired judges, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing them with life­time round-the-clock po­lice pro­tec­tion for district judges and state’s ad­vo­cate gen­eral.

A bench headed by Chief Jus­tice of In­dia Di­pak Misra asked the Se­cu­rity Re­view Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee (SRCC) to make a fresh as­sess­ment be­fore ex­tend­ing ad­e­quate se­cu­rity as per re­quire­ments to the judges con­cerned.

Se­nior ad­vo­cate Ra­jeev Dhawan and ad­vo­cate Shoeb Alam, ap­pear­ing for the state gov­ern­ment, submitted it was the SRCC’s job to de­cide on who needs how much se­cu­rity cover and not for the high court.

The MHA guide­lines are ad­hered to while the threat as­sess­ment is made and pro­tec­tion is given in ac­cor­dance to the same.

The HC, the state said, com­mit­ted a “grave er­ror” in di­rect­ing that a min­i­mum of 1-4 se­cu­rity per­son­nel cover should be pro­vided to all for­mer chief jus­tices and for­mer high court judges for life.

There is a de­tailed pol­icy in place that con­tains the pro­ce­dure for pe­ri­odic as­sess­ment of threats.

The high court order amounted to “usurp­tion of an ex­pert func­tion” by en­croach­ing upon an area exclusive ex­per­tise of the state and se­cu­rity agen­cies.

The high court had in 2015-2016 is­sued sev­eral di­rec­tions to the state to pro­vide round-the-clock se­cu­rity cover at the res­i­dences of each for­mer chief jus­tice and judge of high court along with one per­sonal se­cu­rity of­fi­cer (PSO).

It was done keep­ing in view the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing law and order sit­u­a­tion in Jammu and Kash­mir.

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