A roadblock caused by incumbent Chief Minister E Palaniswamy’s convoy while he was enroute to an election campaign on Thursday prompted the Madras High Court to issue a general direction to the police to ensure that the inconvenience to ordinary citizens is minimised during such movement of VIPs.
The petitioner had moved the Court stating that even if special arrangements are to be made for VIPs on security concerns, ordinary citizens should not be made to suffer.
Empathising with the concerns raised, the order passed on Thursday by a Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that “there is no doubt that the sentiment is shared all round that common citizens are inconvenienced by being required to wait for hours together because of VIP movement.”
The Court further noted that at times, it is also doubtful whether the persons accorded such special treatment need the same on account of security concerns. All the same, since the petitioner had only raised a solitary incident, the Court remarked that “it may have been more of an aberration than a practice.”
The Bench further acknowledged that “there is no doubt that the Chief Minister should have the right of way” given that the office demands that the Chief Minister’s vehicle not be stalled in traffic.
All the same, the Court emphasised that police officers must, equally, ensure that “ordinary citizens are not put to great inconvenience or entire stretches of road are prohibited from use or traffic at crossings are stopped for any great of length of the time in connection with any VIP movement.”
The Court, therefore, ordered the Director General of Police and the Commissioners of Police to ensure that “least inconvenience” is caused to ordinary citizens during VIP movement, unless the VIPs are of the status of the President or the Prime Minister of India.
With these observations, the petition was disposed of.