December 14, 2016 10:14:38 pm
The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that judiciary cannot enter the domain of executive to direct it to include chief justices and judges of high courts in the list of people exempted from re-embarkation security checks at airports saying the “matters of security are not issues of prestige and they are not matters of ‘status'”.
The apex court faulted more than decade-old direction of Rajasthan High Court to amend a circular dated May 1, 2002 of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) to include chief justices and the judges of the high court in the list of persons exempted from re-embarkation security checks at airports.
“The High Court has evidently transgressed the ‘wise and self-imposed’ restraints (as they are described) on the power of judicial review by entertaining the writ petition and issuing these directions,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao said. The High Court had suo moto taken cognisance of a news report regarding breach of security at Sanganer airport in Rajasthan and had directed for amending of BCAS circular on VIPS/VVIPS exempted from security checks at the airports.
While expressing its disapproval on High Court direction, Justice Chandrachud, writing the judgement for the bench said, “matters of security ought to be determined by authorities of the government vested with the duty and obligation to do so”. “Gathering of intelligence information, formulation of policies of security, deciding on steps to be taken to meet threats originating both internally and externally are matters on which courts singularly lack expertise.
“The breach of security at Sanganer airport undoubtedly was an issue of serious concern and would have been carefully investigated both in terms of prosecuting the offender and by revisiting the reasons for and implications of a security lapse of this nature. This exercise was for the authorities to carry out,” the bench said while allowing the appeal of Centre against the 2005 directive of High Court.
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