Supreme court to form panel to conduct independent investigation on PM Modi’s security breach
The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will form a committee led by a retired Supreme Court judge to conduct a time-bound and independent investigation into the circumstances that led to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy becoming stuck on a flyover in Punjab for several minutes on January 5 2022.
For the time being, a bench chaired by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana suggested that current investigations by both Punjab and the Centre would have to be halted.
The top court stated that its committee would submit a report within a certain time frame after reviewing the security arrangements data, which were previously seized by the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court on January 7 in accordance with the court’s directives.
The Registrar-General of the High Court, as well as the officials who assisted him in seizing and protecting the papers, including the DGP of Chandigarh and the IG of the National Investigation Agency, would-be members of the committee, according to the court.
In the committee, there would be another person. As an alternative, Punjab’s Additional DGP (Security) has been offered.
At the commencement of the hearing, Punajb’s Advocate-General D.S. Patwalia expressed concern that the State would not receive a fair hearing. The Centre has previously issued show cause notes to its employees, citing disciplinary action against them for the security breakdown involving the PM’s convoy on January 5, it said.
Mr. Patwalia stated that the State’s only request to the Supreme Court was a fair hearing before an impartial committee.
Mr. Patwalia pleaded with the court, “If I am guilty, please hang me and my policemen, but give me a fair hearing.”
He stated that the Punjab administration prioritized the Prime Minister’s security and desired a transparent and thorough investigation into any security violation that occurred on January 5.
The Advocate-General, on the other hand, said that the show cause notices suggested that the Centre had already found Punjab’s police officers prima facie guilty of breaking their security commitments to the Prime Minister. Mr. Patwalia stated that this decision was reached without any proof or records, all of which had previously been confiscated on Supreme Court orders.
Mr. Mehta contended that the show cause notices were given prior to the January 7 hearing in front of the Supreme Court. He said that the State had committed a “total intelligence failure.” Besides, he argued, it was a well-known fact that a security breach had occurred, in violation of the Special Protection Group Act and the ‘Blue Book.’
“There is no question of hearing when there is a full violation.” The officers in charge are given notice. Breakage is an unavoidable reality. This is a one-of-a-kind case. Mr Mehta emphasised that there can be no delays.
The court questioned why the judiciary was being asked to interfere when the administration had already “presumed everything.”
“You convey the appearance that you have assumed everything… “Why should the court become involved in all of this?” the Bench inquired.
The show-cause notifications were “self-contradictory,” Justice Surya Kant noted at one point.
According to Justice Kant, there may have been a lapse, but who was accountable for it had to be determined based on the evidence.
“What is there for this court to do if you want to take disciplinary action?” the CJI questioned the Centre before informing them of the intention to appoint an investigation panel chaired by a former Supreme Court judge.
Later in the day, the final order will most likely be made public.