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Security in courts: Delhi HC lists suggestions to beef up security in Delhi’s court complexes

The Bench had earlier directed all stakeholders to file their suggestions in the form of an affidavit or report in aid of formulating measures for maintaining safety and security at all court complexes in the national capital, while opining that "there is an imminent and urgent need" for taking such measures.

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Following the shootout in the Rohini Court complex, the Delhi High Court has prepared a summary of suggestions for maintaining safety and security at all court complexes in the capital. 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 that occurred on September 24, 2021, which left three people dead and one woman lawyer injured.

Stating that the Court expects cooperation from the State Government, the Delhi Police and the members of the Bar, the Bench read out the suggestions in the open court, which inter alia includes the following:
1) The Delhi Police Commissioner must constitute a team of experts to undertake the exercise of security audit of all court complexes in Delhi.
2) The security team shall consider the peculiarity of each court complex while deciding various security related aspects including number of police personnel to be deployed, number of CCTV cameras to be installed in each court, etc.
3) There should be scrupulous frisking of all vehicles and persons entering the court complexes.
4) Mechanism of frisking should be quick and efficient.
5) No baggage should be permitted inside court premises without proper scanning.
6) There should be round-the-clock monitoring of the court buildings through CCTV cameras.
7) The appearance of high-risk undertrial prisoners be procured through virtual mode as far as possible.
8) Digitized ID cards may be issued by the Bar Council of Delhi to all the Advocates.
9) Installation of automated gates, similar to the one installed at metro stations, be considered to tackle large number of visitors entering the court premises.
10) A mechanism be devised to issue stickers for vehicles entering the court premises.
11) The Delhi Police shall be responsible for conducting regular and continuous security audits at all court complexes.
12) The State Government shall be accountable for making budgetary allocation for purchasing security devices and equipment.

The Bench, however, made it clear that these are only “suggestions” and not “directions”, and will be circulated among all stakeholders for consideration. The matter is slated for next hearing on November 24, 2021.

The Bench had earlier directed all stakeholders to file their suggestions in the form of an affidavit or report in aid of formulating measures for maintaining safety and security at all court complexes in the national capital, while opining that “there is an imminent and urgent need” for taking such measures.

A connected petition filed by a practising Advocate Deepa Joseph, through Advocates Robin Raju and Blessan Mathews, also enumerates a list of “valuable suggestions” which could be implemented for ensuring safety and security of the District Courts in Delhi, which 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.

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