New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that police personnel who are put on duty for giving security cover to VIPs be deployed for better purposes like making the roads safe for women.
A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi raised question about why so many people are given police security and said that even judges of various courts would not have a problem if security personnel given to them are withdrawn and deployed on streets.
The bench, however, refrained from passing any order as many states failed to file their response on the number of security personnel deployed in their states for VIP security and cost borne by them.
The apex court has given the states time till February 11 to file an affidavit on the deployment of policemen for VVIP security. The bench also said that if states do not file their replies by February 11, their home secretaries will have to appear personally in the court on February 16.
The bench opined that protection for women needs to be drastically increased, and referred to yesterday`s observation by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit that despite recent discussions about security reforms, "Women still feel unsafe in Delhi."
The judges said, "We can understand security being provided to the President, Vice- President, Prime Minister, Speaker and their counter parts in the states. But what is the requirement of providing security to judges? Why security is given to those who are not in power and against whom cases are pending?"
The issue of safety of women was highlighted after the brutal gang-rape of a para-medical student on December 16. The incident had triggered massive outrage across the country.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by a Uttar Pradesh resident on misuse of red beacon in the state.
In earlier proceedings on January 17, the bench had strongly disapproved of police protection given to "all and sundry," including MPs and MLAs facing no security threat and directed the Centre and all states to furnish names of the people given the security and the expenditure borne by states on it.
With PTI inputs