Insulating Supreme Court
from terror threat a complex task
By Rana Ajit
Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Despite remaining a high-value target
since the attack on the Indian parliament eight years ago,
the Supreme Court of India is yet to get an impregnable security
cordon around its majestic complex.
to its constitutional obligation to be freely accessible to
common citizens looking for justice, coupled with the reluctance
of the men and women in black robes to be frisked and the
tactlessness and insensitivity of the men in khaki, insulating
the apex court from the terror threat is proving to be a complex
the lawyers themselves realize that their attitude poses a
potential security hazard for the Supreme Court.
day after 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai from
the sea on Nov 26 and unleashed a devastating carnage that
claimed 179 lives, senior advocate K.K. Venugopal wrote to
the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) underlining the security
risk posed to the apex court by the advocates' attitude.
the Mumbai terrorist incident, I do not think we should be
complacent. The Supreme Court building is wholly insecure
for the main reasons that the lawyers are not ready to show
their identity cards and subject themselves to frisking despite
the warning beeps of metal detectors at the entrances,"
Venugopal said in his letter.
is obvious that any person who is prepared to spend Rs.500
on a black gown, black coat and the lawyers' band is in a
position to walk into the Supreme Court with explosives hidden
in his robes. This means that we lawyers are exposing ourselves
along with judges and the visitors to a terrorist attack in
the Supreme Court," the senior advocate added.
president Pravin H. Parekh fully concurs with Venugopal's
concern, while the police too couldn't agree more.
lawyers' attitude poses a risk to the court's security. Our
boys find it difficult to handle them," Deputy Commissioner
of Police (Supreme Court Security) S.R. Meena told IANS.
lawyers, however, blame the "sheer unprofessional ways
of the security personnel in doing their job" for their
general disdain for the men in khaki inside the apex court
never dare demand an identity card from a senior lawyer or
frisk them, more so if those lawyers are in the media limelight,"
said advocate Suresh Chand.
while frisking the little-known lawyers, they appear to be
unnecessarily intrusive, deliberately groping the body and
violating one's dignity and privacy. They appear to take vicarious
pleasure in doing all that," Chand added.
about the "uncouth behaviour" of the security personnel,
Meena refused to respond.
on Dec 13, 2001, attacked the Indian parliament resulting
in a 45-minute gun battle in which nine policemen and parliament
staffers were killed. All the five terrorists were also killed
by the security forces and were identified as Pakistani nationals.
slew of new security measures that have been put in place
mean that even MPs and ministers, no matter how influential,
cannot take them for granted.