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PM Security Lapse : Supreme Court Appoints Former SC Judge Justice Indu Malhotra As Enquiry Committee Head

Srishti Ojha
12 Jan 2022 5:15 AM GMT
PM Security Lapse : Supreme Court Appoints Former SC Judge Justice Indu Malhotra As Enquiry Committee Head
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Indu Malhotra to head the Committee to enquire into the security lapse which happened during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Punjab on January 5.The Court opined that the "questions cannot be left to one-sided enquiry" and a judicially trained mind needs to oversee the probe. The Director-General of...

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Indu Malhotra to head the Committee to enquire into the security lapse which happened during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Punjab on January 5.

The Court opined that the "questions cannot be left to one-sided enquiry" and a  judicially trained mind needs to oversee the probe. The Director-General of the National Investigation Agency or his nominee not below the rank of IG, Director General of Police of Union Territory of Chandigarh, ADGP (Security) of Punjab and the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court (who has seized the records relating to PM's visit) are the other members of the Committee.

The points of reference of the Committee will be- 

  1. What were the causes for the security breach for the incident on 5th January 2022?
  2. Who are responsible for such a breach, and to what extent?
  3. What should be the remedial measures or safeguards necessary for the security of the Hon'ble Prime Minister or other Protectees?
  4. Any suggestions or recommendations for improving the safety and security of other Constitutional functionaries
  5. Any other incidental issue that the Committee may deem fit and proper

"...these questions can't be left to one-sided inquiries. A judicially trained independent mind duly assisted with officers well acquired with security issues & Registrar general of HC who seized records would be best placed, to submit a comprehensive report", CJI NV Ramana read out the operative portion of the order.

The Court directed the Enquiry Committee to submit the report "at the earliest".

The Court observed in the order that there was "blame game" between the Union Government and the State Government and the "war of words" was not a solution.

The Court said that there is also a greater urgency to evolve new measures that may ensure there is no recurrence of such lapses in the future.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli passed the order in a PIL filed by an NGO "Lawyer's Voice" seeking a probe into the security lapse during PM's trip.


On the last occasion ( 10th January) the Court while deciding to constitute an independent committee had asked both the Central Government and the Punjab Government to put on hold the inquiries by the Committees constituted by them in the meanwhile. 

Earlier on 7th January, the Supreme Court had directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure the records relating to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Punjab on January 5, during which a security lapse occurred when a group of protesters blocked the PM's cavalcade.

The Court had directed the State of Punjab, central and state agencies to cooperate with the Registrar General and provide entire records immediately. The Court said that both the Director-General of Police of Chandigarh UT and an officer from NIA can be nodal officers.

Details of the petition

The petition by Organization 'Lawyers Voice' has urged the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the serious and deliberate lapse on part of the State of Punjab, its Chief Secretary and Director General of Police concerning the security and the movement of the Prime Minister of the country.

The petition has sought directions to the District Judge, Bhatinda, to collect all official documents and materials from all possible sources pertaining to the movements and deployment of Punjab Police in connection with the visit at the earliest and produce the same before the Supreme Court.

Further, directions have been sought fixing responsibility on State of Punjab, and its Chief Secretary and place them under suspension and further direct Union of India to initiate departmental action against the same.

According to the petitioner organisation, it attempts to bring to the notice of the Court the events that took place in the State of Punjab on 5th January 2022 resulting in the breach of the security of a high constitutional office in the country.

Relying on news reports, the petition has argued that it was clearly intentional and raises a serious question as to national security and the role played by the present political dispensation in the State of Punjab.

The petitioner has submitted that the lapse in the security of the Prime Minister was occasioned clearly in connivance with the Punjab Police and it was only the Punjab Government that knew the precise route of the Prime Minister which is never shared due to high-security reasons.

Therefore the petitioner has argued that proceedings be initiated against the erring officials and other persons responsible for breaching the security of the Prime Minister as a part of a pre-meditated, pre-planned conspiracy to breach the security of the Prime Minister and bring national security in jeopardy.

"Considering the prevalent situation, which clearly has a national security implication, the highest standard of security arrangements was imperative and as per protocol, the car for the Chief Secretary and DGP or their nominees of the visiting state is earmarked and supposed to join the motorcade. However, as per the reports, neither chief secretary /representative nor DG/representative joined the motorcade during the movement of the Prime Minister," the plea states.

The plea states that a situation wherein a high constitutional functionary is stranded on a flyover is an extremely high-security threat considering the vulnerability and the degree of planning and protection required for the office of the Prime Minister.

Relying on reports, the petitioner has submitted that the local administration took part in the blockage and the security lapse.

"It is clear from the events that private persons were given access to the Prime Minister's route, and other persons 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 the State," the plea states.

Case Title: Lawyers Voice Vs State of Punjab

Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 43

Click here to read/download the judgment


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