Madhya Pradesh High Court

Madhya Pradesh High Court: In a writ petition seeking police protection due to alleged threats to petitioner’s lives and property by certain miscreants, a single-judge bench comprising of Anand Pathak,* J., held that “providing security to petitioners and alike persons in such manner/flimsy pretext is contrary to the Constitutional Spirit and undermines the well-being quotient of society at large” and ordered the removal of police security and directed the petitioners to pay outstanding fees.

In the instant matter, the petitioners, who are real brothers and permanent residents of Gwalior, sought relief through a writ petition under Article 226/227 of the Constitution and requested the Court to direct the Superintendent of Police to provide them with security due to alleged threats to their lives and property. This request stemmed from an incident in 2005 when the petitioners were threatened by miscreants for extortion. Despite several representations and intermittent police protection, an attack occurred in which the son of one petitioner was killed. The miscreants involved were prosecuted and convicted for various offenses. The petitioners persisted in seeking police protection over the years, even after the accused were convicted. The petitioners, despite possessing licensed weapons, sought police protection on multiple occasions. The police department raised concerns over the misuse of police resources and non-payment of fees by the petitioners for the security provided. The police authorities eventually moved an application seeking dismissal of the petition, citing the financial burden and misuse of resources.

While acknowledging the unfortunate incident involving the petitioners, the Court held that prolonged police protection without assessing ongoing threat perception is unjustified. The Court reasoned that while police protection may be warranted in certain circumstances, it should be provided temporarily and in exceptional cases. The Court criticised the petitioners for failing to pay for the security services provided and noted their misuse of police protection for personal gain. The Court emphasised on the primary duties of the police in maintaining law and order and highlighted the misuse of resources when providing prolonged security to individuals.

“So far as plea of police security is concerned, it is neither a Fundamental Right nor a Statutory Right of the petitioners to claim personal guards from police department. Police is meant for providing protection and security to common man and it is not meant for protecting persons like petitioners for years together that too without assessing threat perception.”

The Court dismissed the petition and held that police protection is not a fundamental or statutory right. The Court directed the removal of police security for the petitioners and ordered them to pay the outstanding dues promptly. Additionally, the Court instructed authorities to reassess the threat perception of individuals receiving police protection and to ensure that such protection is only provided when necessary. The Court also proposed the formation of a committee to formulate rules and regulations regarding the provision of police protection in the future.

[Dilip Sharma v. State of M.P., 2024 SCC OnLine MP 1314, order dated 14-03-2024]

*Judgment by Justice Anand Pathak

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Shri Sanjeev Jain, Counsel for the Petitioners

Shri Neelesh Singh Tomar, Government Advocate, Counsel for the Respondents

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