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SC stays Tripura HC orders on scrutiny of Ambani security cover

The Times of India logo The Times of India 30-06-2022
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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed Tripura HC orders seeking to scrutinise the process by which the Centre had provided Z+ security cover to India's richest businessman Mukesh Ambani and Y+ security to his wife Neeta Ambani.

After brief arguments from solicitor general Tushar Mehta on the lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Tripura HC to go into security cover provided to Mumbai-based individuals decided by experts based on intelligence inputs, a bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala stayed two orders of the HC on a PIL seeking details of the inputs based on which the security covers were provided. The Centre said Mukesh Ambani was granted Z+ security since 2013 based on the threat report obtained by the security forces, which was evaluated by experts. After a similar exercise Neeta Ambani was accorded Y+ security cover in 2016.

"It was also pointed out to the HC the expense for giving such security was also duly borne out by the Ambanis. Their three kids were not granted any central security cover," the Centre said.

"The HC lost sight of the fact that, to provide a security cover or not to a civilian on the basis of threat perception is a technical matter which requires expertise of trained persons. Therefore, these decisions taken by experts is not judicially reviewable," it said.

The Centre said a similar challenge by a PIL to the security cover given to Ambanis was dismissed by the Bombay HC in December 2019. The SC on October 27, 2020 had dismissed the appeal against the Bombay HC order and said, "It is for the state to assess and review the threat perception to individuals."

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