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SC to hear Centre’s plea against Tripura HC order on security cover to Ambanis

The Maharashtra government had provided security to Mukesh Ambani and his family based on an evaluation of threat perception by the Centre.

Mukesh Ambani security cover
No central security cover was given to their children — Akash, Anant and Isha. (Reuters)

The Supreme Court agreed to hear on Tuesday the central government’s appeal against the Tripura High Court’s decision to hear a PIL against the grant of high-level Z+ security cover to industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his family members in Mumbai.

A Vacation Bench led by Justice Surya Kant will hear on Tuesday the Centre’s appeal against the HC taking up the case after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the judges that security provided to one family cannot be an issue of public interest.

The SG also informed the apex court that the HC, in its two interim orders, had also summoned Union home ministry officials on Tuesday (June 28) with original files maintained by the government, in a sealed cover, on the threat perception linked to Ambani and his family.

Terming the PIL as “misconceived, frivolous and motivated,” the ministry of home affairs, in its appeal, stated that the PIL was filed by a person “who has no locus in the matter and is just a meddlesome interloper, claiming to be a social activist and student.”

The Centre also said that the HC “failed to appreciate that the family members were neither residents of Tripura nor any part of the cause of action remotely arising from Tripura existed,” thus the state HC had no jurisdiction over this matter.

“To provide a security cover or not to a civilian on the basis of threat perception is a technical matter which requires the expertise of trained persons manning law, order and security of the State. Therefore, these decisions taken by such experts are not judicially reviewable…” the appeal stated.

“… the very indulgence of the HC to judicially review the decision of the central government to provide security cover to some of the respondents suffers from patent and manifest errors of law and is perverse requiring interference of the SC,” the appeal said, adding that “the territorial jurisdiction of the state of Tripura was completely alien to the subject matter of petition.”

It further pointed out that Z+ category security was given to Mukesh Ambani in 2013 and Y+ category CRPF cover was given to his wife Nita Ambani in 2016 on the basis of inputs and assessment report received from intelligence and investigation units and the expense for giving such security was also duly borne out by the Ambanis. However, no central security cover was given to their children — Akash, Anant and Isha. The Maharashtra government had provided security to Mukesh Ambani and his family based on an evaluation of threat perception by the Centre.

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