HC Judge- “Are common man and PM equal in your eyes?”
I had recently filed a PIL (Writ Petition Misc Bench No 2967 of 2014) in the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench, requesting for quashing the Special Protection Group Act 1988 as being ultra vires to Article 14 of the Constitution and to direct the employment of SPG security purely on need basis.
The PIL said that the Supreme Court and various High Courts have repeatedly said that state security can never be associated solely with a post, howsoever high it might. It shall be assessed on individual case to case basis and cannot be provided to all ex PMs and family members in a blanket manner, some of who might be completely undeserving of such security or might even misuse it. At the same time, such sophisticated security cannot be limited only to a select group, while denying it to others who might need it more.
Calling this a discriminatory and arbitrary act, I had prayed for quashing the SPG Act and providing SPG security on need basis, only after proper assessment.
I present here an almost verbatim narration of what happened in the Court on 11 April 2014 at around 2.55 PM where Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice D K Upadhaya constituted the Bench. I have written exactly what happened, to the best of my remembrance and I am willing to pass through any examination, lie-detector test etc for this. I am responsible for each and every of my words and shall stand by their truth till the end. I thought it duty to bring it in open in larger public interest because every institution is ultimately for public interest and its truth must come before larger public.
I have the highest regards for judiciary. If I did not have utmost respect and complete faith in judiciary, why would I have gone again and again before it? At the same time, while till date I had read in books that our Constitution is made by “we, the people” and everyone is equal before the eyes of law, this incidence has definitely shattered this belief.
The conversation was in Hindi and I am presenting here the English translation. I have also sent a copy of this conversation to the Chief Justice of India for his kind information and necessary action in this regards.
The order in this case has not come on Allahabad High Court website so far.
The entire happening-------
The government counsel raised a preliminary objection-“This is a 1988 Act, it relates with PM security, it has no concern for the public, hence it is not a PIL.”
Justice Ambani-“What do you have to say?”
Nutan Thakur-“SPG Act talks of providing security only to PM, ex PM, family members. This is against Article 14. Public money is used for this security, hence it is a PIL.”
Justice Ambwani-“Is there no difference in your eyes between a common man and the PM? You are damaging the entire system. This is not a PIL. Do you even know how important PM security is? Two PMs have been murdered. Do you understand how world-wide sensitive issue this is? How much is spent on security, why this security is needed? Have you studied the Intelligence report? How can a common man and PM be equated. How can you say that security shall not be given to PM?”
Nutan Thakur-“Nowhere in the Writ Petition have I said that PM shall not be provided security. This is only for PM, ex PM etc. There are other important persons as well. Other posts also have their dangers. Even common man can need such SPG security. They also need better security, This is violation of Article 14”
Justice Ambwani-“PM post is very important. You filed this PIL only for publicity. I know you have filed 78 PILs. I have seen on webpage you write against Judges. You are harming the entire system. This challenging of Act is a misuse of PIL. PILs started for environmental issues. Downtrodden, pollution related issues are PILs. This is not PIL. You have done it for publicity.”
Nutan Thakur-“What is the publicity here? I don’t ask the media to publish my name. They are not in my hands. They only publish what they feel like. What you have called 78 PILs, to my knowledge it is actually 140. They are on different issues- child related, women related, many Acts have not been implemented, some PILs are on them. I gain nothing in these PILs. I am not going to get the SPG security, there is no gain to me.”
Justice Ambwani-“We know what you gain. You want to get Magsaysay award by filing PILs. You want publicity. You want your name to be published, hence you file PILs. There are many personal cases in Judiciary. This way Court’s time gets wasted. We shall cost you for judiciary’s safety.”
Then Justice Ambwani gave his order in low voice which could not be heard fully.
After this, Justice Ambwani-“For judiciary’s safety, whatever PIL you file, you shall have to deposit a draft of Rs. 25,000 with it and if the Court is satisfied, your draft will be returned. Otherwise, it will be seized. This is for judiciary’s safety.”
Nutan Thakur-“That’s fine, what you ordered. My request is that now the range of PILs has increased a lot and many issues are entertained. What issue you consider as PIL and what not, kindly clarify this also.”
Justice Ambwani-“This we will decide, what is a PIL and what is not. Why shall we tell you. Your day before yesterday’s PIL was good, but what is this?”