The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to examine a plea raising the issue of alleged breach of security to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana. The plea filed by Delhi-based Lawyer’s Voice alleged the state government and the police were complicit in jeopardising the security of the holder of the high constitutional office in the country.
“The security lapse, as per reliable reports in the print and the electronic media, and as per the Press Information Bureau report of Central government, 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”, said the plea.
The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, asked Singh to serve the copy of the writ petition to the Punjab government counsel and posted it for hearing on Friday.
The plea sought a direction to the District Judge Bhatinda to collect, preserve and present all material pertaining to the movement and deployment of Punjab Police in connection with the visit of the Prime Minister, fix responsibility of the DGP and the Chief Secretary, Punjab.
As the top court asked Singh as to what is he expecting from the court, Singh said it is to be ensured that this is not repeated again and a thorough probe is required. “The 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. It is in fact reported that the local administration took part in the blockage and the security lapse,” the plea added.
The Punjab government has formed a high-level committee to probe lapses during Modi’s visit.
The petition claimed it sought to highlight the said incident and raise an important question as if the Prime Minister of the country can face such a situation, then the fundamental rights of citizens which has been guaranteed to them under Article 19(1) (d), 19(1) (g), and 21 of the Constitution, are in serious jeopardy in Punjab and beyond.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said that the Prime Minister’s security was breached during the Punjab visit on Wednesday. Taking cognisance of the security breach, it has sought a detailed report from the Punjab government and asked it to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry said, “Today morning Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed at Bathinda from where he was to go to the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter. Due to rain and poor visibility, the Prime Minister waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear out. When the weather did not improve, it was decided that he would visit the National Martyrs Memorial via road, which would take more than two hours. He proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of necessary security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police.”
Around 30 km away from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, when the Prime Minister’s convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protesters. “The Prime Minister was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister,” the MHA said.