A special force to protect courts? SC seeks governments’ reply
Amit Anand Choudhary | TNN | Dec 15, 2019, 3:13 ISTAA72
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has sought response from the Centre and state governments on a lawyer’s PIL seeking formation of a special force to protect courts across the country with the petitioner citing frequent violent incidents inside court premises, including the gunning down of a woman lawyer at Agra and recent clashes between
police and lawyers inside Delhi’s Tis Hazari courts.
The Tis Hazari court clashes and the gunning down of the first woman chairperson of Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh inside Agra court premises brought out gaps in the existing security arrangements inside courts.
CISF was entrusted the task of providing security to Madras High court after the HC in 2015 ordered replacement of the state police security following unruly scenes caused by lawyers who had gone on strike. The apex court also upheld the HC order and said no one can be allowed to hold judiciary to ransom, which has to remain “effective” by maintaining its “integrity” and “dignity”.
Raising the concern over lack of proper security mechanism in court premises, Supreme Court advocate Karunakar Mahalik had filed PIL in the SC pleading the court to intervene. He submitted that the Centre should be directed to create a dedicated security force for judiciary on the lines of Railway Protection Force(RPF) which was set up to protect railway premises and properties.
“It has become expedient to improve the existing conditions of security measures in court premises across the country in view of several instances of attacks which took place in many district and HCs in the last decade including the murder of UP Bar Council chairperson inside the court premises and the latest being police action against lawyers and subsequent clashes in Delhi. There have been various incidents of attacks on advocates, policemen, under-trial prisoners, accused persons, witnesses and people visiting courts,” the petition said.
Agreeing to hear his plea, a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari issued notice to the Centre and all states and UTs seeking their response by January 27 on creating a special force. The bench also asked Attorney General K K Vegugopal to assist the court in deciding the issue. It also sought response from the Supreme Court Bar Association.
The petitioner contended that special force for judiciary has been created in many other countries like Australia and USA and same should be done in India as the police force is not capable of providing foolproof security due to excessive work load.
The petitioner said a safe and secure environment must be provided to litigants, advocates, judicial officers and others visiting the court premises.