New Delhi [India], January 12 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday set up a five-member committee headed by retired top court judge Justice Indu Malhotra to probe into the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Punjab visit on January 5.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, while setting up the independent Committee, said such an issue relating to breach of security of Prime Minister cannot be decided by "one sided inquiry" of Centre or the state government and it has to be by a "judicially trained mind".
Observing that there is a blame game between Punjab and Central government as to who is responsible for such lapses in Prime Minister's security, the Bench said, "War of words between them is no solution. It may rather impair the need of a robust mechanism to respond at such a critical juncture."
The other members of the committee are Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) or his nominee not below the rank of Inspector General of Police, Director General of Police (DGP) Union Territory of Chandigarh, Additional DGP of Punjab (Security) and Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The Bench said the Committee will inquire into causes of the security breach, persons responsible for the breach and the future measures to be taken for preventing such security breaches of VVIPs.
"Terms of Reference for the Enquiry Committee are: What were the causes for the security breach for the incident on January 5, 2022?, Who are responsible for such a breach, and to what extent?, What should be the remedial measures or safeguards necessary for the security of the Prime Minister or other Protectees? and any suggestions or recommendations for improving the safety and security of other Constitutional functionaries," the apex court said in its order.
The top court asked the committee to submit a report at the earliest.
It also asked member and coordinator of the committee, Registrar General of High Court, to submit all records and documents collected by him on orders of the apex court to inquiry panel.
It also stayed inquiries ordered by the Central government and the State of Punjab.
"We are of the considered opinion that these questions cannot be left to be resolved through onesided enquiries. A judicially trained independent mind, duly assisted by officers who are well acquainted with the security considerations and the Registrar General of the High Court who has seized the record pursuant to our earlier order, would be best placed to effectively visit all issues and submit a comprehensive report for the consideration of this Court," the Bench said.
The top court's order came on a PIL seeking judicial probe into breach of Prime Minister's security while on a visit to Punjab.
The plea in the top court, filed by Lawyers' Voice, alleged that PM's security breach was a "deliberate lapse on part of the State and sought the preservation of evidence on security arrangements and action against erring officials of the Punjab government".
The Prime Minister was stuck atop a flyover for 15-20 minutes while on his way to Ferozepur in Punjab last week due to the road being blocked by some protesters. The Ministry of Home Affairs termed it as a "major lapse" in his security. (ANI)