October 21, 2021

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Plea in SC raises safety aspect, says production of undertrial be not ordered as matter of routine

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Plea in SC raises safety aspect, says production of undertrial be not ordered as matter of routine
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Plea in SC raises safety aspect, says production of undertrial be not ordered as matter of routine
Plea in SC raises safety aspect, says production of undertrial be not ordered as matter of routine

NEW DELHI: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court raising safety and security concerns at trial courts across the country saying the requirement of producing undertrial prisoners from jail to the concerned court should not be ordered as a “matter of routine” on each date.
Referring to the September 24 shootout inside a district court in Delhi where three persons including a jailed gangster were killed, the petition said if the trial court deems fit that in a particular case the undertrial should be present, it can be ordered through video-conferencing from jails.
The plea, filed by advocate Rishi Malhotra, has referred to several provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and said the concerned trial courts should specifically order about the presence of an undertrial before it when it deems necessary and proper in the facts of the case.
It said the presence of an accused as an undertrial before the trial court “can be ordered through video-conferencing from jails and especially in the cases of gangsters so that the public safety as well as the security of the judicial officers remained intact on one hand and the rights of an accused is balanced on the other hand.”
The petition said it cannot be disputed that an undertrial prisoner has a constitutional right to be present before the court when the trial against him is in progress.
It said that several provisions of the CrPC provide powers to the concerned court to dispense the personal presence of undertrial from jails during normal trial proceedings.
“What is happening across all over India before the trial courts is that as a matter of routine, the undertrials are produced from the jails to the concerned trial courts on each and every date which not only leads to unnecessary expenses on the state exchequer but also, more importantly, endangering the public safety and also the safety of the concerned undertrial especially in the cases of notorious gangsters and habitual criminals,” it said.
An application was earlier filed in the apex court seeking directions to the Centre and the states to take immediate steps for security in subordinate courts in wake of the shootout inside the Rohini district court in Delhi.
The application was filed in the top court in a pending plea that raised the issue of safety and security of judicial officers and advocates while referring to the alleged mowing down of district and sessions judge-8 of Dhanbad court, Uttam Anand, by a vehicle on July 28 in Jharkhand.
Jailed gangster Jitender Maan alias Gogi and two assailants of a rival gang, who were posing as lawyers, were killed in a shootout in Rohini district court that also saw police fire bullets in retaliation.
Video footage of the Rohini court incident, which exposed security lapses in the system, showed policemen and lawyers rushing out in panic as gunshots rang out inside courtroom number 207.
The Supreme Court is seized of a suo motu case relating to the safety and security of judges and lawyers across the country in the wake of mowing down of a judicial officer at Dhanbad and had earlier sought information from states on steps taken to ensure the safety.

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