New Delhi, June 24: The Supreme Court today stayed the Allahabad High Court's order directing the Uttar Pradesh government to provide Z security cover to BSP MLA and former energy minister of the state Ramveer Upadhyay.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi also stayed the high court order for giving security to Vinod Singh, who was the Tourism Minister in the Mayawati government. The apex court passed the order on an appeal filed by the state government challenging the high court's order on the ground that there was no security threat to former ministers and pleaded the court to set aside it.
Upadhyay opposed the state government's plea and submitted to the court that the high court order should not be stayed. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for him, contended that the apex court should pass the order after hearing the case on merit. The bench, however, stayed the high court order and posted the case for further hearing on July 9.
"Everyone is equal before the Supreme Court whether it is a minister or common man. Article 21 is equally applicable to all," the bench observed.
Upadhyay was given Y security cover during Mayawati regime but the present Samajwadi Party government withdrew the protection and he was provided only an armed constable for his protection. Pleading for security cover, he had submitted that he had been attacked several times and needed protection and the security was withdrawn because of political vendetta after the change of government in the state.
While an X category protectee gets a security cover of two personnel, under Y category, there is one personal security officer and one armed guard. Z category entails a security cover of 26 personnel.