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File affid on Cong leader’s plea on security cover: SC to JK

New Delhi, May 22: The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to file an affidavit on a plea by a Youth Congress leader, who has claimed that the security provided to him was withdrawn by the authorities without notice.

The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha and the lawyer representing Abid Imitaz Bhat, who is a national secretary of All India Youth Congress, sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the authorities for withdrawing his security without giving him any notice.

Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir government, countered the petitioner’s submissions and said he was currently in Delhi and security was being provided when he was within the territorial jurisdiction of the state.

The bench asked the state to file an affidavit in this regard and posted the matter for hearing on May 25.

In March, the state government had informed the top court that it has provided X category security cover to Bhat, who has complained of threat to his life.

The court had directed the state to continue to provide security cover to him unless there was a change in threat perception and said the state government should give due notice to Bhat before his security cover was withdrawn.

In his fresh plea seeking contempt action against the J and K authorities, Bhat has claimed that pursuant to the apex court’s order, four security guards were provided to him by the state, but later almost all of them were recalled.

“In practical sense, the petitioner is left with no security since the security guard is also not ready and willing to travel along with him outside Srinagar,” the plea said, alleging that Srinagar’s senior superintendent of police withdrew the security when he was in Delhi.

The petitioner has claimed that he was injured in a blast earlier in the locality where he has his house and office and security was provided to him by the Jammu and Kashmir Police after considering the threat perception.

The state had told the apex court that the high-level Security Review Coordination Committee (SRCC) had taken a decision to provide X-2 level security cover, which comprises one personal security officer round-the-clock with Bhat. The X-2 level is one of the sub-categories of the X level security.

The SRCC, which comprises senior officials of the state and the Centre, assesses the threat perception and level of security cover required for citizens, including VIPs.

Bhat had initially moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the state to provide security to him and his family members on the ground that he faced threat to his life.

The high court had summoned the chief secretary of the state after its counsel had failed to inform the court about the next date of meeting of the high-level SRCC.

The J and K government had later moved the apex court challenging the orders of the high court summoning the chief secretary. The apex court had on February 12, stayed two orders of the Delhi High Court summoning the chief secretary of state in the matter.