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Lok sabha passes “THE SPECIAL PROTECTION GROUP (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019”

The lower house of the Parliament of India, Lok Sabha, has passed the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on November 27, 2019. The Special Protection Group (hereinafter SPG) is the highest tier of security system in our country which provides the greatest protection to the principle protectee of the state, the PM and his immediate family members. SPG was first established in the year 1985 to protect the Prime Minister of India after the assassination of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards in October 1984.

The SPG Act came into existence to provide security to the Prime Minister and his or her family based on the recommendations of the Birbal Nath committee report. Initially the group was governed by an Executive Order and only in 1988 the SPG Act came into force. The act was enacted in 1988 to provide for the constitution and regulation of the SPG. The act was amended to provide security cover to former PM and their immediate family members after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1992.  Later various amendments were done to the act in 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2003. The latest amendment to the act is done this year.

The act not only provide physical security to the PM but also takes care about protection of PMO, his or her communication system, foreign tours and issues pertaining to his or her health and well being.

OBJECTIVE OF THE AMENDMENT BILL:

The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah, on November 25, 2019. The Union Minister stated that, “The main objective behind introducing the amendment was to make the SPG act more effective in ensuring the security to the Prime Minister. Security cover meant specially for the Prime Minister, must not be enjoyed by any other individual. The amendment would ensure that no omission happens in carrying out its core mandate, as the security of the Prime Minister, as Head of the Government, is of Paramount importance for Government, governance and national security”

A COMPARITIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN SPG 1988 AND 2019 SPG, 1988:

  1. This act mandates the constitution and regulation of the SPG to provide security to the PM, former PM and their immediate family members.

  2. This act provides security to PM, his immediate family members, former PMs and their immediate family members for 1yr from the date they cease to hold office

  3. For security cover beyond this period, the decision of the Union Government matters.

  4. Once the SPG cover is withdrawn from a former PM, it will also be withdrawn from the immediate family members unless the threat level faced by the family members warrants such security

  5. SPG security is provided in cases where the threat emerges from a military or terrorist organization and it is of grave and continuing nature.

THE SPECIAL PROTECTION GROUP (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

  1. The new amendment provides that the security is provided to the PM and his immediate family members living with him in his official residence.

  2. This security is available to former PM and his immediate family members, who reside with him at the official allotted residence for 5yrs from the date he ceases to hold office.

  3. This amendment took away the condition to continue the SPG cover of the PM’s immediate family members if the level of perceived threat is high in case of withdrawal of the SPG cover to the former PM.

Priyadharshini R

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