The Delhi High Court on Monday listed for April 30 a public interest litigation (PIL) concerning the safety and security of the Prime Minister, considering the pendency of overlapping issues before the Supreme Court.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel initially said that it would ask the Centre to consider as representation the PIL which seeks a declaration that all authorities, civil or military, shall act under the supervision of the Special Protection Group (SPG) in matters of security of the Prime Minister and his immediate family members.
Lawyer V Govinda Ramanan, representing the petitioner Ashish Kumar, said that the plea was on a “limited point of law” that the SPG should have the power of superintendence in respect of the PM's safety and that he has already made a representation to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Central government counsel Amit Mahajan informed the court that the Supreme Court is already seized of overlapping issues. The bench, also comprising Justice Jyoti Singh, adjourned the hearing on the PIL and noted that the apex court has passed directions and is awaiting the report of the committee already appointed by it.
On January 5, the prime minister's convoy was stranded on a flyover due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur after which he returned from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event, including a rally. On January 12, the Supreme Court had, on a petition seeking a thorough investigation into the matter, appointed a five-member committee headed by former apex court judge Justice Indu Malhotra to probe the security breach.
In the PIL before the high court, the petitioner has argued that the security of the Prime Minister “cannot be left to the discretion” of the states and the absolute superintendence in matters of his safety should be exercised by the SPG. He has submitted that the SPG was created with the sole purpose of ensuring the safety and security of the prime minister and all authorities are therefore duty-bound to aid their functions.
The petitioner has alleged that recently, “the Govt. of Punjab, including the Police officials of the state instead of coming to the aid of" SPG in terms of Section 14 of the SPG Act, 1988 was "creating obstacles to the proximate security of the Hon'ble Prime Minister”.
“It came to the knowledge of the petitioner via media reports that there has been a breach in the security of the Hon'ble Prime Minister during his recent visit to the border state of Punjab on 05.01.2022, which, inter-alia, is further evidence from the fact that his convoy was stuck and was made to wait on a flyover for more than 20 minutes, thereby, exposing and putting his life at risk to a terrorist attack,” the petition said.
In a country that has witnessed the assassination of two PMs, such security lapses pose a great threat to national security and also put the life of the common citizens at risk, the petitioner has argued.
Withi inputs from PTI.