Supreme Court junks PIL, lets Centre continue security cover of Ambani, family

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a PIL before the Tripura high court questioning the top-level security cover for Mukesh Ambani and his family after they informed the court they fully reimburse the Centre the cost of security.
A bench of CJI NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli allowed an appeal filed by the Centre after solicitor general Tushar Mehta questioned the locus standi of the petitioner to challenge a considered decision taken by security experts based on intelligence inputs, and also the jurisdiction of Tripura HC to entertain such a PIL when the industrialist and his family live in Mumbai.
For Ambanis, senior advocate Harish Salve informed the court that the RIL chief runs one of the biggest industrial houses in the country that employs four-five million people. “Today, we know what kind of situation prevails. Unlike in western countries, private security guards cannot carry sophisticated weapons. Whatever cost the government incurs on providing security to Ambanis, it is fully reimbursed,” Salve said.
The apex court repeatedly asked the petitioner before the HC as to how he was concerned with the Centre’s decision to provide a certain type of security to the RIL boss and his family. “We direct the government to continue providing adequate security, as determined by the experts, to the respondents. There is no need to continue with the proceedings before the HC any further,” the bench said.
The Centre has been providing Z+ security cover to Mukesh Ambani since 2013 and Y+ security to his wife, Neeta Ambani, since 2016. Their three children are given graded security cover by the Maharashtra government.
In its appeal, the Centre had 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 manning law, order and security of the state. Therefore, these decisions taken by experts are not judicially reviewable, much less in a PIL filed in a state where neither of the respondents (Ambanis) reside nor the PIL petitioner could be said to be aggrieved by the security cover by the central government to Ambanis”.

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