Rohini Shootout: Issue Smart Cards to Advocates for Securing Entry, Bar Bodies to HC

Entry of advocates in court premises here should be allowed based on a smart card having a digital chip for verification of identity, lawyers’ bodies Tuesday told the Delhi High Court in view of the recent shootout that killed three people in a Rohini courtroom here.

The Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) and Bar Council of Delhi (BCD), in their suggestions given to a bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel on improving court security, said that such smart cards would be akin to the proximity cards issued to lawyers for securing entry in the Supreme Court premises.

The bench, also comprising Justice Jyoti Singh, was hearing a petition concerning the security and safety at court premises, which is initiated on its own following the September 24 shootout at Rohini Court.

The bench had earlier asked all stakeholders, including the Centre, Delhi government, and various bar associations to also give their suggestions on the issue so that they could be incorporated in the order.

“Advocates may be permitted with ID cards, like proximity cards in Supreme Court… There will be a mechanical scanning of these digitised cards,” said DHCBA President and senior lawyer Mohit Mathur.

Lawyer Devendra Singh, appearing for BCD, stated that a new card containing a chip will be issued to advocates to regulate their entry into court premises. He added that all advocates must abide by the security checks and any refusal to follow the same shall amount to misconduct.

The DHCBA further suggested that all visitors including advocates must be frisked by using advanced metal detectors, all the vehicles should be checked by employing hi-tech devices and entry of hawkers should be banned.

It also said that only licensed shopkeepers must be allowed access and identity cards should be issued for their staff. The BCD called for a three-tier security system, including posting police personal in civil clothes inside courtrooms, setting up a 24-hour control room and installing more CCTVs to monitor the security at court premises.

It was also suggested that an active interaction and meetings of stakeholders must be ensured to deal with the issues and a separate uniform may be prescribed for law interns. Both lawyers’ bodies opined that the production of undertrials should be through the virtual mode and the number of security personnel should be increased.

Lawyer Robin Raju, appearing for a petitioner lawyer who has filed a separate plea on the issue, said that an advisory should be issued to all members of the Bar to cooperate with the security checks in courts.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for Delhi Police, said that his suggestions were more or less the same. “It seems that the issue is only going to get worse due to overcrowding. Courts are soft targets,” he said. “We have got a good number of suggestions,” said the Chief Justice who listed the matter for further hearing on October 25.

“We expect respondents who have not filed so far the affidavit to give valuable suggestions (may do so) so that the matter is brought to an end by giving directions for safety (of court premises), the court said.

Earlier, Delhi Police had suggested that the use of technology should be maximised to reduce the physical presence of parties in all the seven district courts here and updated security gadgets are installed there to obviate security concerns. It said the security of the seven district courts has been taken over by the Security Unit, which is a specialised unit of Delhi Police, and necessary security arrangements and staff are being deployed accordingly.

The high court had on September 30 initiated on its own a petition concerning security at courts in the national capital following the September 24 shootout at Rohini Court, saying there was a need for proper and effective deployment of a sufficient number of police personnel in courts.

Jailed gangster Jitendra Gogi and his two assailants posing as lawyers were killed inside the Rohini courtroom on September 24 in a dramatic shootout that also saw the police fire bullets in retaliation, the officials had said. Video footage of the incident showed policemen and lawyers rushing out in panic as gunshots rang out inside courtroom number 207.

The two gunmen dressed as lawyers are suspected to be members of rival Tillu gang, an official had said, adding that over 30 shots were fired.

On September 24, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana had expressed deep concern over the shootout inside the crowded Rohini courtroom and spoke to the Delhi High Court Chief Justice in this regard and advised him to talk to both police and the Bar to ensure that the functioning of the court is not affected.

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