On Wednesday, the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court not only rejected a PIL which had sought ‘immediate restoration’ of SPG protection to the Gandhi family but also fined the lawyer Rs 25,000 for trying to gain ‘cheap popularity’.
According to reports, Advocate Umesh Bohre had filed public interest litigation (PIL) in the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court against the decision of the Union government to withdraw special protection group (SPG) protection of Gandhi family claiming that the two members of the family, who had served as former prime ministers (Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi), were assassinated.
The Madhya Pradesh HC while rejecting the PIL also fined the petitioner Rs 25,000, saying he was trying to gain ‘cheap publicity’. Bohre’s petition had named the prime minister’s office, the home ministry, the defence ministry, the director of SPG and two others as respondents.
“The Gandhi family is a renowned family nationally and internationally and their lives are in constant danger especially in the present circumstances where the country is a tense following abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir and Ayodhya verdict. I have prayed for immediate restoration of cover to the three Gandhi family members as they are in dire need of the protection in the light of the fact that two former prime ministers belonging to the family were killed,” advocate Bohre was quoted by The Week.
The Narendra Modi-led NDA government had recently withdrawn SPG cover for Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, former party president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Reportedly, the non-cooperation of the Gandhi family with the SPG over the years and preventing the smooth functioning of SPG was also one of the reasons for the government to downgrade their security from SPG to a Z-plus category.
The intelligence agencies had concluded while evaluating the danger posed to the Gandhis, that their safety would be ensured by replacing the SPG with ‘Z-plus’. The ‘Z plus’ security means the Gandhis will be guarded by around 100 CRPF personnel.
Following the SPG cover removal of the Gandhi family, senior Congress leaders have launched a searing attack against the BJP, accusing it of “political vendetta”. Protesting against the Centre’s move to withdraw SPG security cover of Gandhi family and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Congress had raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha urging the government to restore special protection.
Congress leaders have also been organising protests over the removal of SPG issue.