New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Wednesday said retired apex court judge Justice Indu Malhotra will head the committee formed last week to probe into the security lapses of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab.
A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said the panel will examine the reasons for the security breach, the persons responsible for the breach and the measures to be taken to prevent the security breach by the prime minister in the future.
The other members of the panel will be the Director-General of NIA, Director General of Punjab Security and Registrar General of Punjab Haryana High Court along with other members. While setting up the panel, the Supreme Court said that this independent committee will gather information about the reasons for the security lapse, the persons responsible for it and the steps to be taken to avoid such incidents in the future.
The bench stressed that such questions cannot be left open to questioning unilaterally. Both the state government and the central government had formed their own committees to investigate the matter. The top court had asked both the Center and the Punjab government not to pursue their respective probes in the matter.
Earlier during the hearing, the bench had said, “We are taking the prime minister’s security breach very seriously.”
The apex court’s order came on a plea by NGO Lawyers Voice, represented by senior advocate Maninder Singh. The petitioner had stressed the importance of security to the PM of the country and referred to the previous apex court’s decision that looked into the SPG Act.
Advocate General DS Patwalia, representing the Punjab government, complained against the show cause notice to its chief secretary and the DGP. He requested the apex court to constitute an independent committee to probe the matter. Patwalia said, “If I am guilty then hang me. But don’t condemn me unheard.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the Centre, defended the show cause notice issued by the Central Government. However, the top court expressed its displeasure over the Centre’s stand and questioned what is the point of asking the court to probe the matter if the Center itself wanted to go ahead.