New Delhi: Taking suo motu cognisance of the of Ponty Chadha incident, the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought explanation from the Centre about the norms for issuing gun licences to private security persons and how agencies engaging them are being regulated. Issuing notice to the Centre, a bench of justices DK Jain and JS Khehar said that the recent incident in which firearms were allegedly used by private security personnel is a matter of grave concern.
"A recent firing incident, widely reported in the press, resulting in the death of two persons, allegedly on account of use of firearms by some private security personnel is a matter of grave concern. It raises serious issues regarding the role of security agencies, especially the private ones," the bench said without naming the incident. Controversial liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his estranged brother Hardeep were killed on November 17 in an exchange of gunfire from the two sides when their guards traded gunfire after an argument during a meeting called to resolve their property dispute at a farmhouse in south Delhi.
The apex court directed the Home Ministry to respond on what is the legal regulatory framework under which the private security agencies operate and what are the norms for granting weapon licences to private security personnel. It asked the Centre to respond on whether there are guidelines governing the use of such firearms/weapons, by private security personnel and if not then whether it is necessary to frame definite parameters.
"Under these circumstances, we take suo motu cognisance of the said reports, relating, inter alia, to the licensing and working of private security agencies," the bench said. "We issue notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India with a direction to file an affidavit explaining its stand on the aforenoted broad questions. The requisite affidavit shall be filed by a senior officer within two weeks from today," the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on December 6.
The court said there were some questions that were of great public importance and needed to be urgently addressed. These are: 1. What is the legal regulatory framework under which the private security agencies operate? 2. What are the parameters/norms that are considered for issue of firearm/weapon licences to private security personnel? 3. What are the guidelines, if any, governing the use of such firearms/weapons, by private security personnel; if not, whether it is necessary to frame definite parameters on the subject? and 4. What are the rights and duties of private security agencies under the law, particularly, vis-a-vis the criminal law of the land?