The Supreme Court on Tuesday (February 28) asked the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Maharashtra government to provide the highest level Z-plus security to industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his family members both in India and abroad.
A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said it was of considered opinion that if there is a security threat, the security cover cannot be restricted to a particular area or place of stay.
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“Highest Z+ Security Cover provided to respondent nos. 2 to 6 (Ambanis) shall be available all across India and the same is to be ensured by the State of Maharashtra and Ministry of Home Affairs. Highest Level Z+ Security Cover, as per the policy of Government of India, be also provided, while respondent nos. 2 to 6 are travelling abroad and the same shall be ensured by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the bench said.
The top court, however, clarified that the Ambanis have to bear the entire expense and cost of the security cover.
The top court said that looking into the business activities of Ambanis within the country and abroad, the very purpose of providing security cover would stand frustrated, if the same is restricted to a particular place or area.
“We find that the security cover provided to the respondent nos. 2 to 6 has been the subject matter of controversy at different places and in different high courts,” the bench said.
The order came while hearing an application filed by petitioner Bikash Saha seeking clarification of its July 22, 2022 order by which it had allowed the Centre to continue with the security cover for Ambani and his family members in Mumbai.
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The top court had allowed the appeal of the central government challenging the Tripura High Court’s direction on a PIL. The Tripura High Court had on a PIL filed by Bikash Saha passed two interim orders on May 31 and June 21 and directed the Centre to place the original file maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding threat perception and assessment report of Ambani, his wife and children based on which security has been granted to them.
(With inputs from agencies)