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India

Delhi Court Shootout: HC takes suo motu cognizance, seeks suggestions on security

The bench said that there was a need for a fool-proof entry system in courts, installation of metal detectors, under vehicle surveillance system, CCTV cameras at strategic points.

File photo of a district court in Rohini, New Delhi where the blast took place on December 9, 2021. (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday took suo motu cognizance of the Rohini Court shootout that left three dead and said there was a need for proper and effective deployment of a sufficient number of police personnel in courts.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Delhi Police, Delhi government, and Central government, as well as the Delhi High Court Bar Association, and directed that suggestions in the form of an affidavit or a report be filed on the issue of maintaining security at courts.

“We have taken suo motu cognizance of the incident which took place in Rohini court. This court wants valuable suggestions from respondents for security at all court complexes in Delhi,” said the Chief Justice.

The bench said that there was a need for a fool-proof entry system in courts, installation of metal detectors, under vehicle surveillance system, CCTV cameras at strategic points, and proper training of police personnel as well as a regular meeting of all stakeholders.

“We want suggestions from you (lawyers’ bodies). Maximum two pages. There is always resistance (from lawyers against checking) not because they do not want to be checked but because everyone is in a hurry,” the court observed.

In view of the initiation of the suo motu proceedings, the court refused to entertain the public interest litigation by one Gaurav Mishra on the same issue.

“For the same cause, there cannot be half a dozen petitions. You can file your intervention application there. We are not saying no to you. We are allowing your intervention in advance,” the bench said.

The matter would be heard next on October 5.

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.

On September 28, Justice Rekha Palli had issued notice to the Delhi Police and Bar Council of Delhi on a petition filed by a woman advocate and said that the issue of security in district courts in the national capital was “urgent” as lawyers may also become victims of incidents similar to Rohini court shootout which left three people dead.

The judge had asked the police to file a status report on a plea seeking to ensure adequate security in district courts here in the wake of the shootout.