New Delhi: The Bar Council of India has urged the Supreme Court that a specialised security system is needed to provide protection to judges, advocates, court officials, litigants, witnesses, and the court premises.
The apex statutory body to regulate the Bar has filed its response supporting a PIL which sought creation of a special security force for the judiciary on the line of the Railway Protection Force.
Referring to the recent killing of a Jharkhand judge and emphasising that court premises are vulnerable to violence, the BCI, in an affidavit in the top court, suggested the security force should be under the control and supervision of the judiciary, and not the executive.
“That there is a already specialised security system in the Indian Parliament and the Parliament Security Service of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Secretariat looks after the security set-up in the Parliament House Complex. However, on the same line, there can be a Judicial Security Service set up in Supreme Court of India, High Courts and Subordinate Courts,” it said.
The top court took suo moto cognisance after a Jharkhand judge was mowed down by an auto-rickshaw and clubbed the PIL for a special security force for the judiciary in the proceedings.
The lawyers’ body said that for upholding the rule of law in any democratic country, it is of utmost importance that the individual judges and the judiciary, Bar and Bench, as a whole, should be independent of all external pressures.
“That the rights of life and personal liberty of the litigants, advocates, court officials, judicial officers, and judges are prime importance as they are the persons directly involved in the justice delivery system and protection and promotion of just and democratic society with Rule of Law,” said the affidavit.
The Centre had contented that a special unit within the police could be given the task to provide security to the judiciary, but the BCI said it is expedient to redefine the role of the police, especially involved in the security and safety of judiciary. It further added that there are provisions in the Constitution which gives power to the top court and high courts to appoint officers and servants. Article 146 of the Constitution gives ample scope to Supreme Court to appoint and regulate the specialised security force.
The BCI emphasised that there should be a specialised security force for the safety and security of the judges, presiding officers, advocates, court officials, litigants/visitors, witnesses and the premises of courts. “There may also be unarmed security personnel inside each court hall. The court security officers should be specially trained to deal with situations and fully well acquainted with the proper functioning of the judicial system,” added the affidavit.
It further stressed that the requirement of special security system for courts is imperative due to recent mishappenings/lashes between the police and the lawyers at the Tis Hazari Court complex. “That there is need for improved security in courts especially in the trial courts as there is lack of fool-proof security in Trial Courts/Subordinate Courts across India,” added the affidavit.
The response from the lawyers’ body came on a PIL by Karunakar Mahalik , which was filed in 2019, against the backdrop of clashes between the police force and lawyers in Tis Hazari court and the murder of first woman chairperson of the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh inside an Agra court premises. The court sought response from all states on security of judiciary and court premises.