Supreme Court to hear PM Modi security breach matter
The breach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security during a visit to Punjab on Wednesday will come up in the Supreme Court on Friday, with the country’s top court agreeing to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) on the matter by Lawyer’s Voice, a lawyer-run organisation, which termed the incident a “serious and deliberate lapse” on part of the Punjab government . The Prime Minister was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes on the road to Ferozpur on Wednesday due to a blockade by protesters.
On Thursday, a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, asked the petitioner organisation, Lawyer’s Voice, to serve a copy of its plea to the standing counsel for the Punjab government, and listed the PIL for a detailed hearing on Friday.
The CJI’s directive came after senior advocate Maninder Singh mentioned the matter before him; the plea also seeks the suspension of Punjab’s chief secretary and director general of police (DGP) over the security breach.
“I am mentioning an urgent matter relating to a serious breach in security of the Prime Minister in Punjab a day ago,” Singh told the bench, which also comprised justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.
To this, the CJI asked Singh: “What is it that you are expecting from us?”
“He (PM) was visiting Ferozpur. It is extremely relevant to ensure it does not happen again and responsibility for this lapse should be fixed. A professional and effective investigation is needed into the bandobast (security arrangement). It would be appropriate under your monitoring for district judge of Bhatinda to take into custody the entire records of the movements and deployment of Punjab Police in connection with the visit and produce before this court,” Singh told the bench.
The senior counsel added: “After the records are submitted by the district judge, your lordships may decide what steps are to be taken.”
At this, the CJI asked Singh to serve a copy of his petition on the state government. “You serve it today and we will take up your matter tomorrow,” justice Ramana said.
The unprecedented breach in the PM’s security forced Narendra Modi to cancel his first rally in poll-bound Punjab. The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report on the incident from the state government.
Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi has expressed regret over the incident but rejected allegations of any complicity. Channi claimed that his government had no information about the PM’s motorcade taking the road route.
Meanwhile, the petition by Lawyer’s Voice has requested the Supreme Court “to take cognizance of the serious and deliberate lapse” on part of state government, its chief secretary and DGP in ensuring a secure route for the PM’s visit to the state on Wednesday. The local police is in charge of logistics and route security when the PM visits any state or UT.
“It has been reported that while chief secretary of the state and DGP gave assurances to Special Protection Group (SPG) that the route is clear, it was found that the same was not true resulting in a precarious situation...that the lapse in the security of the Prime Minister was occasioned clearly in connivance with the Punjab Police,” it added.
According to the PIL, the sequence of events indicated that the state government and the state police failed in providing effective security for the PM and were allegedly complicit in jeopardising the security of the high constitutional office in the country.
“Issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ, order or direction fixing responsibility of Respondent No. 2 (chief secretary) and Respondent No.3 (DGP) and place them under suspension and further direct the Respondent No. 4 (Centre) to initiate departmental action against the same,” added the plea.