Case Detail: Shweta Sanjay Bhatt vs. State of Gujarat
A Single Bench Judge Justice Nirzar Desai while dismissing the petition filed by the former IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt for disclosure of reasons for withdrawal of police protection of her husband by the State Government, said that Shweta Bhatt has no right of police protection and that the state is “absolutely justified” in not disclosing the reasons for withdrawal of security cover. It also stated that at the relevant point of time police protection was granted as her husband was serving as an IPS officer and was also a witness in a criminal trial.
The former IPS officer is currently serving a life imprisonment in a 1990 custodial death case. Sanjiv Bhatt had earlier moved an application in the apex court with similar prayers of seeking security cover, which was disposed of without expressing any opinion on merits. The SC had reserved his right to approach the High Court.
The learned Public Prosecutor also argued that at the relevant point in time, he was serving as a police officer and witness in a criminal case considering all the facts police protection was provided. But in September 2018 he was arrested and till now he is behind bars. And further submitted that via order dated 16-07-2018 police protection not only withdraw to the petitioner’s husband but with respect to a total of 64 persons. The intentions of the government were not questioned and it was considered by the committee headed by the Additional chief secretary, Home Department of the state commission. State security is also important when disclosing the reasons behind the withdrawal.
The bench observed “When the police protection is not a matter of right and the police have very limited sources of granting protection as the manpower in police force is limited, at the same time if any application for police protection if considered positively by the state government and was subsequently withdrawn by the state, and if the state is directed to assign reasons for each and every withdrawal of police protection, in that case the limited police force, which is for citizens at large and maintaining law and order situation, will be busy with those administrative work only”
Story Update By: Ms. Sai Sushmitha, Correspondent at Lawgic
Edited By: Ms. Nandini Nair, Content Head at Lawgic