Court asks MHA to consider deployment of CAPF for securing its wings, district courts.
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Wednesday said that the local police has failed to ensure security and discipline within the court premises and sought deployment of a Central Armed Police Force instead to provide security to its both Srinagar and Jammu wings as well as the district courts across the Union Territory.
A division bench of the court, comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal, while taking suo moto cognisance of some recent incidents which took place in the high court and several district courts premises, issued notice to the government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre on the issue of security
Asserting that it is its responsibility to ensure effective and fair justice dispensation to the people in UTs of J&K and Ladakh, the court said that towards this end it is essential that discipline and congenial atmosphere is maintained by litigant, public, the judiciary, its staff and the members of the Bar.
The bench in the notice also asked the home ministry to urgently consider the deployment of a Central Armed Police Force to provide security to both wings of the high court as well as the district courts in the Union Territory.
It observed that in order to inculcate confidence and to ensure that there is no disruption in the justice dispensation system, “we are completely dependent upon the local police which is tasked to provide security to the courts and to ensure that the justice dispensation system is not disrupted”. It, however, also said that “we are experiencing an unusual and very serious situation”.
It said that a call issued by the J&K High Court Bar Association in Jammu to its members asking them to abstain from work indefinitely over an issue has been used by certain unruly elements to not only abstain from work but also to indulge in completely illegal activities to the extent of attempting to block the main entrance to the High Court as well as district court complex in the winter capital.
It also said that on September 7 posters threatening suicide attacks on the judiciary were pasted with impunity in the Srinagar wing of the high court and termed it as “more extremely significant incident”.
It said that immediately after this incident, the issue of security of all courts in the state was taken up separately with the security agencies of the state and the Chief Justice of India was informed about it as well. It said that the security of the high court premises at Srinagar stands beefed up since.
The court pointed out that the district courts in J&K are conducting some of the most sensitive criminal trials in the country and dangerous criminals are being regularly produced for the purpose of their trials. These include several prosecutions under the erstwhile Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987, the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 and the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985. “Consequentially difficult undertrials are required to be produced before these courts. Sensitive cases are being heard by both wings of the high court of J&K. We find that despite the sensitive nature of work being discharged by the courts, the security to the High Court as also the district courts remains extremely porous”, it said.
The court also said that, as per the guidelines issued by the Union home ministry way back in May 2007, the high courts in various states and UTs in the country had to be declared as high security zones. It regretted that it would appear that no heed was paid in J&K to these guidelines.
It said that the act of locking of the main door of the district courts complex could have dangerous consequences which are beyond the violation of the Article 21 rights of the prisoners and accused.