Modi’s security breach: Supreme Court to hear PIL against Punjab govt on Friday

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on Friday a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding judicial cognizance of what it called a “serious and deliberate lapse” on the part of the Punjab government concerning the security and the movement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

PM Modi was stuck on a flyover during his Punjab visit on Wednesday due to a road blockade by protesters.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, asked the petitioner organisation, Lawyer’s Voice, to serve a copy of the petition on the standing counsel for the Punjab government in the apex court, and listed the PIL for a detailed hearing on Friday.

The CJI’s directive came after senior advocate Maninder Singh mentioned the matter before justice Ramana, seeking an urgent hearing.

“I am mentioning an urgent matter relating to a serious breach in security of the prime minister in Punjab a day ago,” Singh told the bench, which also comprised justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.

To this, the CJI asked Singh, “What is it that you are expecting from us?”

“He (Modi) was visiting Firozpur. It is extremely relevant to ensure it does not happen again and responsibility for this lapse should be fixed. A professional and effective investigation is needed into the bandobast (security arrangement)… It would be appropriate under your monitoring for district judge of Bathinda to take into custody the entire records of the movements and deployment of Punjab Police in connection with the visit and produce before this court,” Singh urged the bench.

The senior counsel added, “After the records are submitted by the district judge, your lordships may decide [on] what steps are to be taken. Please consider passing an order today itself.”

At this, the CJI asked Singh to serve a copy of his petition on the state government. “You serve it today and we will take up your matter tomorrow,” justice Ramana said.

The PIL has also made the Punjab government’s chief secretary, director general of police, and the central government parties to the case.

Lawyer’s Voice requested the Supreme Court “to take cognizance of the serious and deliberate lapse” on the part of the state government, its chief secretary and the DGP in ensuring a secured route for PM Modi’s visit to the state on Wednesday – a lapse that the Centre has blamed on the Punjab government and sought a report on the episode.

“Issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ, order or direction fixing responsibility of respondent No. 2 (chief secretary) and respondent No.3 (DGP) and place them under suspension, and further direct respondent No. 4 (Centre) to initiate departmental action against the same,” added the plea.

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