The Supreme Court has done the right thing in appointing a five-member committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Indu Malhotra, to inquire into the security breach that happened during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab. This had become imperative after the Central government and the Punjab government had set up their own inquiry committees. What’s worse, the Centre had even started taking disciplinary action against the state officials who belong to the central civil services. In other words, it began to act like the complainant, the judge and the executioner all rolled into one. This would have made a mockery of the justice system. Law and order is a state subject and given the political differences between those running the Central and state governments, the state could also have used the powers at its command in a partisan manner. Had they been allowed to work at cross purposes, the common man’s trust in the political system would have been badly affected.
Whatever the Centre and the state may say, there was certainly a breach in the security of the Prime Minister. For at least half-an-hour, he and his entourage remained stranded on a bridge, exposing themselves to security risks, both internal and external. Whether the SPG did the right thing in taking him by road to Ferozepur when he could not fly by helicopter from Bathinda and whether the state police had adequately warned the SPG about the farmers’ decision to block the roads are questions that need to be answered. Only an impartial inquiry by a judicially-trained mind can give the answers so that no such incident, risking the life of the PM, happens in the country.
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