PM Security Lapse: SC Appoints Justice Indu Malhotra to Lead Probe
A bench headed by CJI NV Ramana said the questions raised couldn't be left to a "one-sided inquiry."
The Quint DAILY
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 12 January, announced that former apex court judge Justice Indu Malhotra will head an independent Enquiry Committee to probe the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Punjab.
"We are of the opinion that these questions can't be left to one sided inquiry," Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said, reading out from the court's order.
Justice Indu Malhotra, who recently retired from the Supreme Court, has been appointed the chairperson of the Enquiry Committee. The committee is also to include the Director General of the NIA (or a nominee not less senior than an IG), the Director General of Police for Chandigarh, the ADGP (Security) of Punjab, and the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The committee's terms of reference include assessing who was responsible for the security breach and to what extent, what remedial measures and safeguards are necessary to prevent a similar lapse, and further suggestions for security of constitutional functionaries.
The committee is to submit its report at the earliest. Until the report is submitted, the Centre and the Punjab government are restrained from taking any actions including show-cause notices to officers.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli had heard a PIL filed by Delhi-based NGO Lawyers Voice, which sought action against officials responsible for the security lapse.
During the hearing, Punjab Advocate General DS Patwalia had objected to the issue of show case notices by the central government to Punjab officials, arguing that the notices showed that they had already found the officers to be guilty.
"I will not get a fair hearing from the central government. Please appoint an independent committee to give us a fair hearing," he had told the judges on 10 January.
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