Firing incident at Saket Court complex raises questions over security at Delhi courts

Vehicles bearing court stickers that are as old as 6 or 10 years get easy access inside the court premises, Dhir Singh Kasana, a former secretary of the bar association, said.
Heavy security and media presence outside Saket court after a shooting incident inside the court premises in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)
Heavy security and media presence outside Saket court after a shooting incident inside the court premises in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

NEW DELHI: The firing incident at the Saket court complex on Friday morning has raised several questions on the security arrangements made by Delhi Police at the district courts in the national capital.

While the police said they have tightened the security, some lawyers called for a strict vigil at the entry gates and those entering the court premises should be frisked and their vehicles checked thoroughly.

The security personnel deployed at the court complex claimed not many lawyers get themselves frisked but some lawyers asserted they themselves offer to be checked and follow the security rules and regulations.

Police said they have increased the number of barricades inside the court complex and deployed additional paramilitary forces.

According to advocates who practice law at the court, general entry is allowed through four gates.

Gate no five remains closed permanently.

And through gate no 6, everyone can exit but only judges can enter.

Through gate no 1, judges can enter but no pedestrian entry is allowed.

Through gate no 2, only lawyers, police and court staff can enter.

Gates no 3 and 4 are open to all but no vehicle is allowed to enter through them.

Metal detectors are placed at gates no 3 and 4.

There are an adequate number of CCTV cameras inside the court complex, the advocates said.

On Friday, security personnel at gate no 3 claimed they frisked everyone passing them and checked their baggages.

Still, a man dressed as a lawyer and carrying a gun gained entry to the court complex and fired multiple shots at a woman over a monetary dispute involving Rs 25 lakh.

The woman received bullet injuries in her abdomen and a hand as she ran screaming around the lawyers' block to escape the attacker, an advocate who was suspended by the Saket Court Bar Association.

Videos of the incident were widely circulated online and several users questioned the security at the court complex.

One of the lawyers, who witnessed the incident, said the woman had come to the lawyers' block after hearing in the cheating case filed by her attacker had gotten over.

"When he started abusing her, I intervened and told him to not abuse since she is a woman. But he continued. Then suddenly, I don't know what happened. He took out a pistol and started firing at the woman," he said.

Some lawyers claimed hundreds of them visit the court for their respective cases everyday and if each one of them is frisked, they will get delayed for work.

They also said it is difficult to get every vehicle checked.

"Besides the litigants, there are hundreds of lawyers who come to the court. So if each of us are checked, then our work would get delayed and there will be a huge queue. Plus even though vehicles are checked, security personnel do not check the vehicles from inside. So it is easy for anyone to carry anything," he said.

Dhir Singh Kasana, a former secretary of the bar association, said the area where the man shot the woman is under CCTV surveillance.

Wondering how the man entered the court complex with a gun pistol, the advocate alleged the arrangement for checking vehicles belonging to lawyers is inadequate.

"Vehicles bearing court stickers that are as old as 6 or 10 years get easy access inside the court premises. It is also possible that lawyers may have transferred the ownership (of the vehicles) or they have given the stickers to their client so that they can have an easy entry. We demand that these stickers should be renewed every year by the Supreme Court or the High court and there should be a uniform sticker," he said.

He also said the guards sitting at the entry gates should be vigilant.

He said a bigger incident could have happened --- like the one that occurred at the Rohini Court in 2021.

Two men posing as lawyers had gunned down jailed gangster Jitendra Gogi inside the courtroom.

Following the Saket Court incident, teams of crime branch and special cell visited the crime scene.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Chandan Chowdhary too visited the court complex for a second time to review security and held discussions with lawyer association members about the need to boost security.

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