The Special Protection Group Act, 1988

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An Act no. 34 of the year 1988 being ‘The Special Protection Group Act, 1988’ was enacted as Central Government legislation and Act of Parliament for enacting provision to constitute and regulate the armed force of the Union in order to provide for proximate security to the Prime Minister of India. However, by the amendment the security was also extended to the former Prime Minister of India and members of their immediate families. The Act was assented by the President of India on 2nd June, 1988. The provisions of the Act were amendment several times by the Amending Acts including Acts of 1991, 1994 & 1999 and also recently Act of 2003. The members of the Special Protection group are subjected to the provisions of this Act.

The basic provision under the Act is dealing with the constitution of the aforesaid Group. Such Group as aforesaid is provided to give proximate security to the current and former Prime Minister and their immediate family members. So far as extension of security to the former Prime minister of the nation is concerned, the provision says that the same to be provided for 1 year from his ceasing to hold the office as such. However, such security period can be extended to more period looking to the level of threat which the Central Government to decide. Moreover, the Central Government is vested with the authority of general superintendence, direction and control over the Group under the provisions of this Act and also under the rules made thereunder. And the Director of the Group will be vested with the command and supervision of the Group and such Director to be appointed by the Central Government. Such Director is to be assisted by certain officers including Inspectors General and Deputies and Assistants thereof and other officers as per Central Government, which should appoint them. Such Members of the Group are required to serve in both conditions i.e. they will have to serve both inside and outside India. And they are appointed to hold the post till the pleasure of the President of India. And their duties under the Act, is anytime to be active as such they are not treated to go to leave or suspension even. Even they can not resign their post at any time during the term of their engagement or even they can withdraw themselves as such. However, it can only be done with the prior permission of the authority prescribed in this behalf. Moreover, such Members of group are restricted from joining any trade union, labour union, etc. or even of any society, association not purely social or religious, however, they can do so with the written permission of the Central Government or of the authority prescribed in this behalf. Similarly, such members are also restricted to have communication with the press or even from publishing any book, letter, etc.

Moreover, the section 11 is important so far as it is related to the provisions of termination of such members from their services. The appointment of such Members to be terminated in the public interest and such termination is treated as discharge simpliciter not amounting to dismissal or removal. Such member is also having right to file appeal against such termination. The limitation period is 30 days and the authority to hear such appeals is the Board constituted by the Central Government. The Board is vested with the final decision making authority against which no challenge can be maintained.

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The Central Government is vested with the tremendous powers under this Act, including the one relating to providing functions and powers which the Members of the Group are bound to perform. Further, the Ministers, Departments of the Governments, local authorities or other authorities or every civil or military authorities are provided with the duty under this Act to provide assistance and aid to the Director or Members of such Group at the time when they are required to do so. Similarly the actions of the Members of such Group or even of the Group done in good faith by them and also under the provisions of this Act, for effecting the provisions of this Act, should not entail any legal obligation or sanction against them. Moreover, in addition to the other powers of the Central Government, it is also expected to provide for rules in furtherance with the provision of section 16 of the Act and also to give effect to those provisions.

Lastly, the section 18 says that, the existing Special Protection Group which was formed on 8th April, 1985 should also be treated as has been constituted under this Act and as to it the all provisions under this Act should apply.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.