NEW DELHI: The Indian Supreme Court on Monday agreed to set up an independent committee, which will be headed by former SC judge to probe Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach in Ferozepur district of Punjab on January 5.
Meanwhile, the three-bench judge, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, asked the Centre and Punjab governments not to go ahead with their inquiries in the matter. Other members of the bench are Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.
The decision came after the Punjab government urged the apex court to set up a court-monitored probe into the incident.
During the hearing, DS Patwalia, Advocate General of Punjab, said that the government has issued seven show-cause notices to the officers seeking an explanation why no action should be taken against them for the incident. Senior advocate Patwalia told the court that the records have been taken into consideration by the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
PM Modi’s convoy was stuck on a flyover when he was on his way to Hussainiwala in Ferozepur district to visit National Martyr’s Memorial.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli was set-up. On Friday, Senior advocate Maninder Singh appearing for petitioner Lawyers’ Voice told the Supreme Court that the breach in Prime Minister’s security is not merely a law and order problem, it falls under Special Protection Groups (SPG) Act.
Singh says it is the duty of Centre and State or the Union Territory and other local authorities to act in aid of the director of any member of the SPG. Under the SPG Act, it is not an issue of state subject or law and order. “The issue of Prime Minister protection is a national security issue and comes under parliamentary purview,” Singh said on Friday in the Court.
The plea alleges that Prime Minister’s security breach was a deliberate lapse on part of the State government and stern action should be taken against “erring” officials of the Punjab government.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh has previously mentioned the matter on Thursday before the top court while terming it a serious lapse and sought a probe.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant, and Hima Kohli asked Singh, who was appearing for an organization, Lawyer’s Voice, which has filed the plea, to also serve a copy of the petition to the Punjab government.
Singh had said that it was a serious lapse on the part of the Punjab government to allow the PM’s cavalcade to be stranded on the road causing an unacceptable security breach.
CJI Ramana asked Singh about what he expected from the court and whether the alleged security lapse happened in Bathinda or Ferozepur.
Singh said the Prime Minister was scheduled to address a meeting in Ferozepur but the security lapse happened in Bathinda.
“Given the situation in Punjab, there should be a fair probe into the lapse and accountability be fixed so that such a situation does not arise again in future,” Singh told the apex court.
“The overall responsibility for ensuring the safety of the Prime Minster rests with the State government and the responsibility for providing proximate security will rest with the Special Protection Group (SPG) as per the SPG Act 1988. On the contrary, what was shocking and alarming on many levels was that local Police personnel on the spot were seen to be participating with the hooligans who jeopardized the security of the Prime Minister,” the plea stated.
It alleged that private persons were given access to the PM’s route, and others were instigated to join the blockade, which represents a serious and unpardonable breach of national security by the State apparatus and the political establishment of Punjab. On January 5, Prime Minister, who was on his way for an election rally, was stopped on a flyover after his convoy was blocked. (ANI)