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Delhi High Court issues directions for upgrading security in court premises

The  unfortunate incident occurred at a time when the Principal District & Sessions Judge, North-West District, Rohini Courts, as well as other Judges were in the Court Complex. At the time of the incident,  several lawyers, litigants, court staff etc. were also within the Court Complex and were at risk. 

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The Delhi High Court has issued several directions with regard to the upgradation and enhancement of security in court premises in the light of the Rohini Court shootout incident.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh passed this direction in a suo motu petition registered after the shootout at a Rohini district court in September this year.

Jailed gangster Jitendra Gogi and his two assailants posing as lawyers were killed inside the Rohini courtroom on September 24.

The  incident occurred when the Principal District & Sessions Judge, North-West District, Rohini Courts, as well as other Judges were in the Court Complex. At the time of the incident, several lawyers, litigants, court staff etc. were also within the Court Complex and were at risk. 

Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issues involved and the imminent necessity of reviewing and revamping the security arrangements, which is the need of the hour, the following directions are passed by the High Court:

I. Commissioner of Police, Delhi shall constitute a team of experts to undertake the exercise of security audit of Delhi High Court Complex as well as all the District Court Complexes at Delhi. Keeping in mind and in the background, the features and factors, peculiar to each Court Complex, including but not limited to location, number of exit and entry points, number of court rooms as well as their respective topography, the team so constituted would take a considered decision on the various security-related aspects such as number of police personnel required to be deployed, number of CCTV cameras to be installed, etc. 

II. Status Report of Delhi Police does bring forth certain measures having been put in place. However, a one-time measure or exercise would not suffice. Commissioner of Police shall, based on the audit, undertake periodical review of the security arrangements and depending on the given situation, required number of security personnel shall be deployed and requisite gadgets shall be installed. 

III. The police personnel so deployed shall scrupulously check all the vehicles entering the Court Complexes. Only authorised  vehicles with stickers shall be permitted inside the Court Complexes, which would include vehicles of staff, advocates and Judges. Apart from CCTV cameras, efforts shall be made by the concerned Authority to install high quality UVSS at the entry gates. Stickers for the vehicles used by advocates shall be devised by the Bar Council of Delhi, in consultation with the Bar Associations and the Police Department, preferably with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). 

IV. All persons entering the Court Complexes will be checked by the security personnel. Checking/frisking shall be undertaken at two check points, namely, the entry gates of the Court Complexes and the entry points to the buildings housing the Courtrooms. Lady police personnel shall be deployed at the entry points for checking/frisking the lady advocates, staff and litigants. In order to ensure that the mechanism of checking/frisking is thorough and at the same time quick and efficient, Delhi Police shall ensure that latest technology in metal detection and baggage scanning, etc. is employed. No baggage shall be permitted inside the Court premises without scanning. It shall be ensured that all scanners and other gadgets meant for checking and frisking are in a working condition. The scanners and the detectors shall be manned and a backup shall be maintained in each Court Complex in case of any equipment failure. 

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V. Respective Bar Associations shall devise a mechanism to issue ID Cards with QR Code/Bar Code/smart chip to all advocates who are members of these Associations. For those advocates who are enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi but are not members of any Bar Association, similar ID Cards shall be issued by the Bar Council of Delhi. The ID Cards shall be non-transferrable and should be capable of being used in all Court Complexes, at the time of entry. Valuable suggestions shall be invited from the Delhi Police in this regard, more particularly, with respect to devising a suitable software. Similar ID Cards shall also be issued by the concerned Authorities in the respective Courts for use of their officials and staff as well as by the Bar Associations for the registered clerks. 

VI. Installation of automated gates, like the ones installed at Metro Stations, be considered to tackle the huge footfall in the Courts. Advocates shall render complete cooperation with the security personnel at the time of checking, frisking and baggage scanning. 

VII. There should be round-the-clock monitoring of the Court buildings through CCTV cameras and it shall be ensured that the cameras are in a working condition, without fail. Steps shall be taken to install, as far as possible, CCTV cameras with high resolution and adequate storage capacity, covering as much area as possible, more particularly, the areas surrounding the lock-ups in the District Courts. 

VIII. As regards, high-risk Under Trial Prisoners (UTPs), as far as possible, their appearance may be secured through virtual mode. Wherever or whenever there is a necessity to produce such UTPs physically abundant care and precautions shall be taken in terms of providing adequate police escort and checking/frisking etc.

IX. Concerned Principal District Judges, in consultation with the Office Bearers of the respective District Court Bar Associations and Delhi Police, shall work out the minute details  of the security arrangements and issues such as number of entry and exit points required to be operated, regulation ofthe licensed shops/kiosks, within the Court Complexes and the timings of opening and closing the chambers.

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X. In so far as the Delhi High Court Complex is concerned, learned Registrar General of this Court shall also take inputs/suggestions from Delhi Police and Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) to streamline the security arrangements and the report shall be periodically placed before the BMCC,Delhi High Court, to enable the Committee to take necessary decisions and devise measures to implement the security measures. 

XI. While the police authorities shall be primarily responsible for regular and continuous security-audit of all the Court Complexes, deployment of adequate personnel, monitoring through CCTV cameras etc., the Government of NCT of Delhi shall be responsible for making budgetary allocation for purchasing security-related devices, as suggested and recommended by the Delhi Police in its Status Report. Since,Delhi Police has the necessary expertise in the field of security, the security-related devices shall be procured directly by them, under intimation to the Court Administration and Government of NCT of Delhi. As and when the devices are procured, the necessary funds shall be made available by the Government of NCT of Delhi, without any delay. 

The matter has been listed for further hearing on April 18, 2022.

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