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Petitions in SC, Delhi HC To Ensure Safety in Lower Courts After Rohini Shooting

Jailed gangster Jitender Maan and two assailants of a rival gang who were posing as lawyers were killed in a shootout in Rohini district court on September 24.

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New Delhi: An application has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Union government and the states to take immediate steps for security in subordinate courts in wake of the shootout inside a district court in Delhi on September 24 that left three gangsters dead and a law intern injured.

It said that gangsters and hardcore criminals may be produced from jails through video-conferencing before the trial court instead of producing them physically.

The application was filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari even as another lawyer, Deepa Joseph, moved the Delhi high court urging it to direct authorities to take requisite measures for the safety and security of district courts in the national capital.

Jailed gangster Jitender Maan alias Gogi and two assailants of a rival gang who were posing as lawyers were killed in a shootout in Rohini district court on Friday, September 24. The police fired bullets in retaliation.

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana had on Friday expressed deep concern over the shootout inside the crowded courtroom. He also spoke to the Delhi high court Chief Justice D.N. Patel in this regard, an apex court official reported.

The application by Tiwari has been filed in the apex court in a pending plea which raised the issue of safety and security of judicial officers and advocates while referring to the alleged mowing down of district and sessions judge of Dhanbad court, Uttam Anand, by a vehicle on July 28 in Jharkhand.

While referring to the Delhi shootout, the application said such incidents are not only a threat to the judicial officers, lawyers and others present in the court premises but also to the justice delivery system.

It has sought the apex court’s direction to the centre and the states to take immediate steps and measures to ensure security in subordinate courts.

“Such incidents are not only a threat to our judicial officers, lawyers and people present in the court premises but it is also a threat to our justice system,” it said.

It said apart from securing the judges against any threat, it is also important that court premises are secured against any attack by militants or other criminals. It said huge crowds are seen in court complexes and security becomes vulnerable if adequate measures are not in place.

Advocates at the Rohini Court following a shooting in which gangster Jitender Gogi was killed in New Delhi, September 24, 2021. Photo: PTI/Kamal Singh

The application has sought directions for the installation of CCTV cameras and the setting up of armed police posts in district court premises across the country.

Referring to several past incidents which had happened in district court premises, it said unwanted persons should not be permitted inside the court complex.

The plea by Deepa Joseph in the high court sought a direction to the Delhi police and the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) to consider instructing all police personnel at court entrances to ensure that they check the ID cards of every lawyer who enters the court premises.

It also sought that Delhi police be directed to raise the security and frisking level of lawyers on a par with the Supreme Court and Delhi high court and to take disciplinary action against the officers who fail to implement the direction with utmost diligence and seriousness.

The plea moved through lawyers Robin Raju and Blessan Mathews said the BCD be asked to issue an advisory to all the district bar associations in the city to recommend members of their bar to cooperate with police personnel at the main entrance of courts.

Video footage of the Rohini court incident, which exposed security lapses in the system, showed policemen and lawyers rushing out in panic as gunshots rang out inside courtroom No. 207.

Police had said the incident happened around 1:15 pm when Gogi who was allegedly involved in over 30 heinous crimes, was taken to the courtroom for a hearing. The armed assailants were already seated before Gogi when he entered the courtroom.

The two assailants are suspected to be members of the rival Tillu gang, an official reported adding that over 30 shots were fired.

The Supreme Court is seized of a suo-motu case relating to the safety and security of judges and lawyers across the country in the wake of mowing down of a judicial officer at Dhanbad and had earlier sought information from states on steps taken to ensure the safety.