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Delhi High Court directs Delhi District Court Bar Associations to file affidavits on security of court complexes in capital

The Bench tagged the instant suo motu matter with a petition filed by a practising Advocate Deepa Joseph through Advocates Robin Raju and Blessan Mathews, stating that “recurrent incidents of shootouts in court premises is causing serious fear in the minds of Petitioner and thousands of other fellow legal professionals practicing in District courts of Delhi .”

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed all Delhi District Court Bar Associations to file their suggestions as affidavits or report on the issue of maintaining safety and security at all court complexes in the capital.

On September 30, the Division Bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh had taken suo motu cognizance in the wake of the shootout inside the Rohini Court Complex on September 24, 2021, which left three people dead and one woman lawyer injured.

The Bench tagged the instant suo motu matter with a petition filed by a  practising Advocate Deepa Joseph through Advocates Robin Raju and Blessan Mathews, stating that “recurrent incidents of shootouts in court premises is causing serious fear in the minds of Petitioner and thousands of other fellow legal professionals practicing in District courts of Delhi”.

The Bench issued notice on the Delhi Police Commissioner and the Bar Council of Delhi, while taking note of the “valuable suggestions” enumerated in the plea for ensuring safety and security of the District Courts in Delhi, which inter alia includes:
a) A strict instruction to all the police personnel deployed at court entrances to ensure mandatory checking of the ID cards of each and every lawyer who enters the court premises. b) To make the level of security and frisking of lawyers at district court complexes at par with the Delhi High Court and the Apex Court. c) To ponder over the decision on installation of biometric punching device at the entrance gates of all the Courts. d) To take strict disciplinary action against those officers who do not implement the aforesaid direction with utmost diligence and seriousness. e) A direction to the Bar Council of Delhi to issue an advisory to ask their respective members to cooperate with police personnel deployed at the entrance of court complexes.

In pursuance of the orders passed by the Bench on the last date of hearing, the Delhi Police Commissioner, the Delhi High Court Bar Association and the Bar Council of Delhi have filed their respective reports indicating suggestions in aid of formulating measures for maintaining safety and security at all court complexes in the national capital. 

The Bench directed the Centre, the Delhi Government, the Delhi High Court Bar Association and all District Court Bar Associations to file their “valuable suggestions” in the form of an affidavit or report pointing out measures imperative to ensure the safety and security of Advocates and other stakeholders in the court complexes in the city.

The matter will be taken up next on October 25.

The Bench had previously opined that there is a need for an effective deployment of sufficient number of police personnel at all court complexes in Delhi. In addition, the Bench stated that there is a need for installation of more number of CCTV camera at all strategic points, along with a fool-proof entry system with installation of hi-tech metal detectors and baggage scanners at all the courts in Delhi, including the High Court.

On the afternoon of September 24, wanted gangster Jitender alias Gogi was shot inside Rohini Court by attackers who entered in the guise of lawyers. The incident happened in the Rohini courtroom, when Gogi was presented before the judge.

The Delhi Police Special Cell killed the two attackers, who are believed to be from the rival Tillu Tajpuria gang. Around 35-40 rounds were fired in the ensuing shootout, wherein three lives had been lost.

Following the incident, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana expressed deep concern at what had happened in Rohini Court Complex, and advised the Delhi High Court Chief Justice to talk to both police and Bar to ensure that the functioning of court is not affected.

It may be recalled that the matter of safety and security of Court Complexes and judicial personnel is already under the consideration of the Apex Court.

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