Apex court appoints a panel headed by ex Judge Indu Malhotra to probe the security breach during the PMs visit to Punjab last week

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The Supreme Court Wednesday appointed an inquiry committee under its former judge Justice Indu Malhotra to probe the security breach during the Prime Minister's visit to Punjab.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India said that the committee will also include the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana Court, the Director-General of the National Investigation Agency or an officer nominated by him, not below the rank of Inspector General, and ADGP (Security) of Punjab Police.

“We are of the considered opinion that such a sensitive issue relating to breach of the Prime Minister's security can't be left to one-sided inquiries by the Centre or the state government. A judicially trained independent mind assisted by officers well-acquainted with security considerations, and the Registrar General of the High Court who had seized records on our orders, would inquire into the incident," it said.

The committee will probe into the causes of the security breach, ascertain as to who were the persons responsible for it and recommend measures for preventing such lapses in VVIPs' security in the future, it said.

Meanwhile, a fresh petition seeking a National Investigation Agency probe into the security breach during the Prime Minister’s visit to Punjab was filed before the Supreme Court.

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.

Before it disclosed the names of the members, the bench, also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, read out the reason for setting up the panel. 

“In view of the submissions, we are of the principal opinion that these questions (related to PM’s security) cannot be left to be resolved through one-sided inquiries,” the court said.

“We, therefore, deem it appropriate to appoint an inquiry committee,” the court said, reiterating the inquiries commissioned by the central and Punjab governments shall not proceed.

The Bench finally said that the points of reference of the apex court-appointed panel will be to inquire as to who all are responsible for the security breach and to what extent, the remedial measures are necessary.