‘Security Apparatus of A District Court Must Be On Par With High Court’

Arun Verma, a lawyer at Lucknow civil court where a gangster was shot down on June 7, says police must learn its lessons from the horrific incident. His views:

Early this week, in a first of its kind incident, a gangster named Sanjeev aka Jeeva was shot down inside the Lucknow civil court premises. Barely half an hour before the shooting, a man brandishing a knife tried to attack his wife, a lawyer, in a brazen attempt to kill her. Mercifully, he was overpowered by the lawyers and handed over to the police.

In the Jeeva shootout case also, the cops present inside the courtroom were seen running for cover after the first shot was fired. Here too, the shooter was overpowered by the lawyers. If a person, be it an accused or an under trial, is not safe inside the court or the courtroom, what is the guarantee of his/her life in the state? The shooter had disguised himself as a lawyer with the professional black coat attire, cocking a snook at the ever deteriorating scrutiny at the entrance.

Clearly, there is no fear among criminals to carry out daring attacks on the court premises because of lax security and careless policing. A casual look at the court premises blueprint will give you a better idea. Of the eight entry and exit points in the civil court, only five are fitted with Door Frame Metal Detectors. The less said about the alertness of the security personnel on duty, the better. The police guards at the entry points are mostly busy fiddling with their phones; the metal detector beeps fall on deaf ears.

Two days after the killing, six UP Police personnel were suspended for dereliction of duty. However, the action is a cosmetic measure. After a few months of inquiry, the suspension will be revoked and they will report back on duty. All this is a familiar occurrence. After every breach of security in courts, a pattern is followed: Representatives of lawyers and top police officials hold meetings; beefing up the security is agreed upon; briefly there are more boots on the ground; then after a few weeks everything is back to Square One.

ALSO READ: ‘There Is Something Fishy About Atiq-Ashraf Killing’

The requirement for better security in lower courts is a long pending demand of lawyers. The legal fraternity wants the security of a district court to be at par with that of state high court, where a standard operating procedure is followed for surveillance and scrutiny of the visitors. Entry passes, identity cards must be verified by trained personnel and only the genuine complainants, litigants and lawyers must be permitted inside after proper body scan and luggage checking. This is not a complex procedure to follow but the will is missing.

The Jeeva shootout incident is yet another setback to the tall claims of the police and the administration regarding the law and order situation in the state after two dreaded criminals, Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf, were shot dead in full security cover while being taken for a routine medical checkup. It’s high time that such incidents be taken serious note of before the government and police image is irreparably damaged.

As told to Rajat Rai

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