New Delhi, June 25: On issues related to right to life and personal liberty, a minister and an ordinary person are treated alike in the Supreme Court, a bench of two judges said Monday.
The apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said "before the Supreme Court a minister and an ordinary person under Article 21 are the same" and stayed the order of the Allahabad High court directing the Uttar Pradesh government to restore the security cover of an ex-minister.
The high court by its June 19 and June 21 order had directed the government to restore the security cover of the previous Mayawati government's minister Ramveer Upadhyaya and provide government security to another VIP identified as Vinod Singh.
The high court asked the state government to charge 10 percent of the cost of providing four gunmen for protecting Vinod Singh.
The apex court has now put on hold the high court order.
The judges' decision came after senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Upadhyaya, told the court that his client was a four-time legislator and his wife was a Lok Sabha member and they were both under threat.
He told the court that the security cover of Upadhyaya was taken away after the Samajwadi Party government led by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav came to power.
Appearing for the government, counsel Ravi P. Mehrotra said the security cover of Upadhyaya was withdrawn after a review.
Mehrotra wondered if it was justified for the high court to embark upon the exercise to judicially review the government's decision.
He told the court that Upadhyaya was provided four security personnel and he was paying a part of the cost of the facility.
While continuing the stay on the high court's June 19 order in respect of Upadhyaya and staying the June 21 high court order in respect of Vinod Singh, the apex court issued notice to both the security seekers.
The case would next come up for hearing July 9.