Digital Desk, New Delhi. The Supreme Court on Wednesday said any lapse in breaching the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi can have disastrous and dire consequences.
The Supreme Court also said that with regard to lapses in the security of the Prime Minister, it is clear that a unilateral inquiry, whether by the State Government or the Centre, would not be sufficient to address the questions relating to security reasons. At the same time, the court clarified that the blame game between the Center and the state is not a solution. Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli as well as Chief Justice (CJI) N. A bench headed by V. Ramana on January 5 constituted an inquiry committee headed by former apex court judge Justice Indu Malhotra to probe into the matter of lapse in security of the prime minister in Punjab.
The matter is now in the Supreme Court after a convoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vehicles got stuck on the Ferozepur flyover ahead of an election rally in Punjab. An organization named Lawyers Voice has filed a petition in the Supreme Court calling it a serious case of lapse in the security of the Prime Minister. The Central Government has also supported this petition. The central government had earlier blamed the Punjab government and administration for being stuck on the flyover for about 20 minutes after Prime Minister Modi’s car.
The court further said that the additional object is to avoid any human error, negligence or any willful omission or commission, which may impair or expose the safety and security of the Executive Head of the State while traveling in a particular State. Any lapse in this regard can have disastrous and dire consequences. Condemning the charge and counter allegations between the state government and the Center to fix the responsibility of the lapse in the security of the Prime Minister, the court said, “War of words between them is not a solution.” This may obviate the need for a robust mechanism to react at such a critical juncture.
Advocate General D.S., representing the Punjab government. Patwalia submitted that the Ministry of Home Affairs, in a way, is already blaming the officials of the Punjab government for the alleged negligence or lapse in the security of the PM. He said that no state government agency has shied away from its responsibility for the security of the PM, yet a defamatory campaign is going on to malign the government. The Punjab Government had constituted a committee, consisting of a former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Principal Secretary, (Home and Justice Affairs)-. He was entrusted with the responsibility of thoroughly investigating the lapses during the PM’s visit to Ferozepur.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the petitioner Lawyers Voice NGO, however, submitted that the setting up of an inquiry committee by the state government was nothing but a failed attempt to become a judge for its own reason. The apex court studied the provisions of the Special Protection Group Act, 1988 along with the relevant material of the Blue Book. It said, there is a clear and detailed procedure in the Blue Book, which should be observed by the state authorities and the Special Protection Group, to ensure complete security of the Prime Minister, when he is visiting a state.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, supported Singh’s submission and prayed for a detailed independent inquiry. Let us inform that on the petition filed by the Lawyers Voice organization, the bench, while giving its verdict on Friday, had directed the Punjab and Haryana High Court to preserve and protect all the travel records and facts found by the investigating agencies. Apart from this, the Supreme Court had asked the Punjab Police authorities, SPG and other agencies to cooperate and take necessary steps to seal the entire record.
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