NEW DELHI: Responding to a fresh controversy over CJI S A Bobde using a Madhya Pradesh government chopper to travel to Nagpur from Kanha National Park, Supreme Court sources on Wednesday said CJIs and SC judges were always treated as state guests and provided facilities for accommodation, travel and security.
“State governments providing choppers for quick travel of CJI is routine. A few months back, the CJI had travelled from Shirdi to Shani Shingnapur and then back to his hometown Nagpur on a Maharashtra government chopper. So, availing the MP government chopper to trav el from Kanha to Nagpur breaches no propriety,” an official source told TOI.
SC sources were responding to a social media post accusing the CJI of availing the chopper when a petition seeking disqualification of rebel Congress MLAs led by Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose defection brought down the Kamal Nath government and the return of a BJP government, is pending before him. CJI Bobde has been provided with Z+ security after the Ayodhya verdict and recent threats for declining to permit the Rath Yatra, which was later allowed after the Odisha government agreed to make arrangements for a safe festival.
Sources said so many matters relating to Maharashtra were heard by the CJI-led bench at the time he was provided with the chopper to travel from Shani Shingnapur to Nagpur. “This cannot mean that the CJI, who heads benches and hears myriad matters relating to many states, should not accept the protocol of being treated as a state guest in those states,” they said.
“It would have been more expensive for the CJI to have taken the road route as it would have involved a motorcade with ambulance and security on the entire route. Whenever a CJI or an SC judge goes to any state, they are accorded state guest status and provided hospitality, including security and modes of travel,” they said.
“A car is a vehicle, so is a chopper. A boat is also a vehicle when one travels from one island to another while on a visit to the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Should a CJI not avail the boat or motorcade provided by the state governments as part of the protocol and security measures?” they asked.“Some people insist on creating some controversy over everything,” they added.