SC expresses concern over gun violence in Delhi courts; urges to expedite digitisation, installation of CCTVs
The apex court said preserving the sanctity of a court as a space where justice is administered and the rule of law upheld is "non-negotiable."
NEW DELHI: Appalled by three major gun violence incidents in Delhi courts, the Supreme Court directed expediting the installation of CCTV cameras and digitisation of courts to avoid untoward incidents.
Remarking that preserving the court’s sanctity while ensuring safety and security of stakeholders and the general public is “non-negotiable” in the judicial process, a bench of Justices SR Bhat and Dipankar Datta issued a raft of directions for strengthening security on court premises to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place.
"Would not hope for the litigants who visit the temples of justice dwindle, if the very halls of justice lack the shield of security? How can the litigants secure justice for them when those entrusted to render justice are themselves insecure? "It is appalling that court premises in the national capital itself, in the past year or so, have witnessed at least three major incidents of gunfire.
Observing that mere installation of CCTVs “may not be enough”, the court also directed HCs to not only prepare but also timely implement a “security plan”, to be formulated in consultation with Principal Secretaries, Home Departments of each State Government and the Director Generals of Police of the States/Union Territories or the Commissioners of Police.
“The schematics of CCTV camera installation will have to be laid down on a district level where the respective State Governments should provide the requisite funds for the execution of such a plan in a timely manner,” the court directed.
Flagging lack of facilities regarding live streaming of court proceedings and recording trials, the court directed HCs to look into the issues urgently.
“Initiatives like Audiovisual (AV) technology/Videoconferencing (VC) facility for recording of evidence and testimonies in trial, live-streaming of court proceedings at all levels, establishing e-SEWA Kendras, particularly in remote areas may also be considered accordingly,” the court said.
The bench also directed HCs to submit monthly reports to CJs regarding the implementation of measures and called for reports on security measures and digitisation by October 10, 2023. Posting the matter for further consideration on October 12, 2023, the bench entrusted chief justices of HCs to take a call on delegating the responsibility.
Several court complexes in Delhi have witnessed gun violence in recent times.
In July this year, a firing incident was reported in Tis Hazari court after heated arguments between two groups of lawyers. An incident of firing occurred in April in the Rohini court complex following an altercation between lawyers and their clients. In the same month, a woman was shot at by a lawyer in the Saket court premises.