SC orders protection of records in Modi's security breach case
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the protection of all travel records pertaining to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Punjab which was affected by an alleged security breach. The SC was hearing a plea seeking a court-monitored investigation into the incident. PM Modi had traveled to the poll-bound state on Wednesday but returned without attending scheduled events due to the security violation.
Why does this story matter?
- The SC order comes amid a major controversy over PM Modi's visit to Punjab.
- It has snowballed into a blame game between the Punjab and central governments as well as between the political parties that respectively rule them.
- The incident has notably occurred just weeks ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections, likely to be held in February-March 2022.
Records to be secured by High Court registrar-general
The Supreme Court, in its Friday order, directed the Punjab government to make sure that all relevant records are immediately protected. The documents will be secured in the custody of the Registrar-General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The apex court also asked the Punjab Police and other central and state agencies to assist the Registrar-General in safekeeping of the records.
Next hearing scheduled for January 10
The SC bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, said the probe committees set up by the central as well as the Punjab governments will pause their inquiries until Monday (January 10). The petition in question will be taken up next on that day. Meanwhile, the Centre told the court that Wednesday's security lapse was a "rarest of the rare" case.
'Case of potential international embarrassment'
"Both the Punjab government and the police were responsible for the security lapse...There is also possibility of cross-border terrorism. This is something which ought to have been avoided. It is a case of potential international embarrassment," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court.
Punjab government submits report to Centre
On Wednesday, the vehicle in which PM Modi was traveling was stranded on a highway in Ferozepur district, Punjab, as protesting farmers blocked the route. He then canceled his scheduled programs and returned to Delhi. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has submitted its initial report on the matter to the Union Home Ministry. The report stated that sufficient measures were taken to clear the route.