Bombay HC: What's the need to spend public funds on providing police protection to politicians?
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government what was the need to spend tax payers' money on providing police protection to politicians
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government what was the need to spend tax payers' money on providing police protection to politicians. A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak said it felt that politicians who needed police protection could very well pay for the same out of the funds received by their respective parties.
"What is the need for the state government to spend public funds on providing police protection to political leaders? Because, I feel that they can pay from their party's money," Chief Justice Chellur said. The high court's observations came while directing the government to streamline its current process of approving and assigning police protection to private persons. The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a lawyer seeking directions to the state police to recover dues from VIPs, including politicians, and film actors, who have been provided security cover but have not paid charges for the same.
As per the PIL, around 1,000 personnel from the state police are deployed for providing protection to private individuals. During the hearing, the bench also directed the Maharashtra government to ensure periodic revision of all applications to ensure that a person does not continue enjoying police protection even after the threat perception to his or her life has been eliminated.
Chief Justice Chellur also said the state must ensure that police personnel who are assigned as bodyguards to private persons or politicians do not continue in the role indefinitely, but are permitted to go back to other duties after a certain time period. She said, "Making the same set of police personnel serve as bodyguards for an indefinite period of time is not good for the police as well as for the persons to whom they have been
assigned as bodyguards. For, by employing the same 1,000 personnel as bodyguards forever, you are wasting their skills."
"Let them go back to other duties of the police department say after six months, and assign the next set of personnel as bodyguards," she said.
She said such a system will also be good for the people to whom they are assigned as bodyguards. For instance, Indira Gandhi had been advised to change her bodyguards but she did not, the Chief Justice said.
The state must check the fitness levels of the police personnel deployed as bodyguards, she said, while adding in a lighter vein that she could "run faster" than her own bodyguard.