The Supreme Court said on Wednesday ‘Z’ or ‘Y’ category security could not be provided to former ministers at their mere asking, based on their own threat perception.

A vacation Bench told counsel for Ramveer Upadhyaya: “Under the rule, you, as a former Minister [of the Bahujan Samaj Party], are not entitled to such security. This can’t be given at the expense of the state exchequer.”

Counsel said Mr. Upadhyaya had been getting ‘Y’ category security since 2004 but it was withdrawn after the Samajwadi Party came to power last year. “What happened in Chhattisgarh may happen to Mr. Upadhyaya also,” he said, referring to the recent killing of Congress leaders in a Maoist attack in that State.

At this, the Bench of Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Madan B. Lokur asked: “Have you provided security to the families of policemen who lost their lives in that attack? Have you provided security to the family of [Salwa Judum founder Mahendra] Karma who lost his life? Is an ex-minister entitled to security? How can you compel the government [to give you security]? Even the common man has a security threat. Can security be provided? You can have any number of security [personnel] at your own expense.”

The Bench also pointed to a report from the Uttar Pradesh government which said there was no threat to Mr. Upadhyaya.

Earlier, a single judge of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court initiated contempt proceedings against the Principal Secretary for having withdrawn security to Mr. Upadhyaya. But a Division Bench stayed the proceedings and reserved orders. In the meantime, Mr. Upadhyaya approached the Supreme Court.

Disposing of the petition, the vacation Bench said the petitioner could approach the High Court for interim security and it could consider his plea, based on the report of the committee that assessed threat perception.