Threat to independent functioning of justice system: BCI urges Supreme Court to form special security force for safety of judges, lawyers

The lawyers' body has suggested that a Judicial Security Service can be set up in the Supreme Court of India, High Courts and subordinate courts.
BCI and Supreme Court
BCI and Supreme Court

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has asked the Supreme Court to invoke its powers under Article 146 of the Constitution to form a specialised security force for protection of judges and lawyers of the higher and subordinate courts.

The BCI filed an affidavit to this effect in a plea lodged in the backdrop of violent incidents inside court premises including clashes between police and lawyers in Delhi's Tis Hazari court in 2019 and the gunning down of the first woman Chairperson of the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh inside an Agra court premises.

BCI has stated,

"In recent times, our legal system has been facing threats, blackmail, harassment and physical attacks. ln such circumstances this is a threat to the independent functioning of the entire justice administration system (JAS), and as such would hamper the effectiveness of its decisions as being free of bias, pressure and intimidation. Many of these attacks are directed against the vulnerable and less protected sections of the system, namely the district and sessions courts. It's important to create the necessary framework and a protective umbrella for this section by creating a fool-proof security system."

It is pointed out that there is already a specialised security system in the form of the Parliament Security Service of Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha Secretariat to look after the security setup in the Parliament House Complex.

Similarly, a Judicial Security Service can be set up in the Supreme Court of India, High Courts and subordinate courts, BCI suggested.

"A plan can be envisaged to provide the court campus with a Special Jurisdiction Police force as the local police who provides security to the District Trial Courts are not equipped with the arms and not trained to handle the Court security and there is conflict of interest,” reads the affidavit.

In its affidavit, the BCI has stated that to ensure proper implementation of the provisions of Article 50 of the Constitution there needs to be a "special/dedicated security system" for judiciary to protect its interest.

BCI has further suggested that there may also be unarmed security personnel inside each court hall.

The court security officers should be specially trained to deal with situations and fully well acquainted with the proper functioning of the Judicial system,” reads the BCI proposal.

The lawyers' body has also stated that it has prepared a draft Advocates Protection Bill suggesting measures to ensure the safety of advocates in the country. The draft has been prepared in consultation with all State Bar Councils and other stakeholders, and has been placed before the Union Ministry of Law and Justice

The issue of protection of judges recently returned to the spotlight after a judge in Dhanbad, Jharkhand was mowed down by a vehicle.

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