A central team probing the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ferozepur on January 5 reached the Punjab town on Friday, while the state government submitted a report to the Centre saying an FIR has been filed in the matter and a two-member panel set up. The Centre’s three-member committee will seek details about the sequence of events that unfolded as PM Modi was stranded on the highway for about 20 minutes.
The team first went to the Pyarayana flyover near Ferozepur and interacted with senior Punjab Police and civil administration officials. The panel is led by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat, and comprises Balbir Singh, Joint Director of the Intelligence Bureau, and S Suresh, IG, Special Protection Group.
The security of the Prime Minister of India comes under the domain of the Special Protection Group or SPG. Here’s all you need to know about the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act.
What is SPG Act?
The Special Protection Group Act, 1988 is to provide for the constitution and regulation of an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and the former Prime Ministers of India and members of their immediate families.
Why was the Act passed?
The Act was passed by the parliament after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was extended to all former Prime Ministers and their immediate families after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated.
What are the functions of SPG members?
Officers involved in the SPG have to provide security from close quarters, during journey by road, rail, aircraft, watercraft or on foot or any other means of transport and shall include the places of functions, engagements, residence or halt and shall comprise ring round teams, isolation cordons, the sterile zone around, and the rostrum and access control to the person or members of his immediate family.
Who controls the SPG?
The general superintendence, direction and control of the Group shall vest in, and be exercised by, the Central Government and subject thereto and to the provisions of this Act and the rules, the command and supervision of the Group shall vest in an officer to be appointed by the Central Government as the Director of the Group.
What are SPG members restricted from?
SPG members cannot be associated in any way with, any trade union, labour union, political association or with any class of trade unions, labour unions or political associations. They cannot be part of any society, institution, association or organisation that is not of a purely social, recreational or religious nature.
The members are not allowed to communicate with the press or publish or cause to be published any book, letter or other document except where such communication or publication is in the bona fide discharge of his duties or is of a purely literary, artistic or scientific character or is of a prescribed nature.
When and why was the Act amended?
The SPG Act was amended in 2019 to reduce SPG cover to only the Prime Minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.
The 2019 amendment further reduce the time period of SPG cover to the former Prime Ministers and their immediate family to five years after they leave the office, provided that the immediate family members resided at the allotted residence with the former Prime Minister.
The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Act, 2019 states that when the proximate security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, such proximate security will also stand withdrawn from members of his immediate family.