PM’s security lapse: SC asks Centre, Punjab to halt independent probes

Petitioner seeks investigation by national agency like NIA under the apex court’s watchful eyes

SC
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana also asked the counsel representing the Punjab and the central governments to ask the committees set up by them separately to probe the lapses during the visit of the prime minister to hold their hands till Monday when it will hear the plea next.

The Supreme Court on Friday (January 7) directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to forthwith secure the records, pertaining to security arrangements made for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent Punjab visit, from the state government, its police and central agencies.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana also asked the counsel representing the Punjab and the central governments to ask the committees set up by them separately to probe the lapses during the visit of the prime minister to hold their hands till Monday when it will hear the plea next. “Ask both the committees to hold their operations till Monday. This will not be in order but it’s understood,” the Chief Justice of India told the Solicitor General of India and Advocate General of Punjab.

The top court was hearing the plea of an organisation, Lawyers Voice, seeking a thorough investigation into the breach in Prime Minister Modi’s security in Punjab and ensuring there is no such event in the future.

Also read: Action under SPG Act likely against Punjab officers in PM ‘security breach’

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The bench, also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, has taken note of the plea alleging serious breach in the prime minister’s security that took place in Ferozepur, Punjab, on Wednesday and it had led to the stalling of his cavalcade in Bathinda for around 20 minutes.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, speaking on behalf of NGO – Lawyers Voice, said the Prime Minister’s security is planned as the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act. He argued that the probe cannot be handled by Punjab state government and a national agency like NIA should investigate the lapse under the monitoring of the court.

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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta supported the NGO’s demand. “Whenever PM’s cavalcade moves the DG of the concerned state is to be consulted first & only when he clears, the PM’s cavalcade moves. Here, the in-charge gave that signal. He didn’t say there was a blockage. Though the local police was very much there enjoying tea according to videos, they didn’t inform the PM’s cavalcade that there is a blockade. Now imagine, the motorcade is on flyover with protectee, there are trucks and tractors blocking. Serious mishap could have happened. It would have been a subject of international embarrassment,” Mehta submitted.

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