Rohini court shootout underlines Supreme Court concerns over security

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File
Krishnadas Rajagopal NEW DELHI 25 September 2021 20:11 IST
Updated: 25 September 2021 20:26 IST

Centre has turned down a proposal for special force to guard courts, judges

The gunfight and deaths in the Rohini Court complex on Friday come just days after the Centre rejected a suggestion by the Supreme Court to form a “special force” centrally to protect court complexes and judges across the country.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, in August, had expressed doubts about the security measures provided inside court complexes.


Lack of funds

One of the judges on the Bench, Justice Surya Kant, after perusing the affidavits filed by some of the States on security arrangements, said how they present a “lazy picture”. Many, Justice Kant had pointed out, have complained of lack of funds to even having no money for CCTV cameras.

The apex court said merely installing CCTVs in these complexes would not prevent lethal attacks. The court had questioned whether the States were even implementing security guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs for courts.

Friday witnessed two men dressed as lawyers intrude into a courtroom in the Rohini complex and shoot dead Delhi’s most wanted gangster Jitender Mann alias Gogi. The duo was killed in retaliatory fire from police officers.

State’s responsibility

On August 17, the Centre, however, did not appear keen on taking up the Supreme Court’s suggestion of forming a central security force to protect courts and the judiciary on the lines of the Railway Protection Force. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had said the move would not be advisable and the security of courts was best left to the respective State governments.

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Mr. Mehta had argued that the problems of security vary in every State. The State Police would be better equipped to gauge deployment needs in local courts, take care of logistics of transporting criminals and protecting witnesses, among other crucial functions within court complexes. Mr. Mehta had said the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued extensive guidelines for States to follow while protecting courts and the judiciary. Besides, Mr. Mehta had submitted that ‘police’ was a State subject under the Constitution.

The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of violence committed within court complexes following the murder of a judge in Jharkhand, Uttam Anand, in broad daylight recently.

The case is likely to come up in the Supreme Court during the week.