Rohini courtroom shooting: A ‘high-level security lapse’

NEW DELHI: The much-talked-about shootout at a court in Delhi’s Rohini has left a big question mark on the security of the court’s premises.

A notorious gangster, Jitender Gogi, was allegedly shot dead by a rival gang inside the court complex.  The other two casualties are said to be members of the rival gang. The attackers have been killed by the Delhi Police. 

There have been various previous instances of shootouts in gang wars according to the police. The rivalries have led to several murders. However, the location of the aforementioned happenstance raises a big concern over civil security, and we know that there is the utmost importance of security in the delivery of justice.

The principal role of the judiciary is to protect rule of law and ensure the supremacy of law. It safeguards the rights of the individual, settles disputes following the law, and ensures that democracy does not give way to individual or group dictatorship. It imparts justice to the stakeholders, and ensures redressal of citizens’ grievances, thus providing a safe space, a ray of light for the depressed and wronged.

An unwavering sense of safety can only be institutionalized within the people of the state by ensuring that the shrine of justice is itself secure and strong, both figuratively and literally. There have been many instances where the notion of “security” or in other words the certainty of independence of the judiciary has been debated and upheld in the public forum, and somewhere the Indian citizenry is quite secure with its faith in the current judicial undertakings.

The question that concerns this article is whether the infrastructural loopholes might shun the physical security for hassle-free proceedings of courts. The debates and discussions on morality and ethics come only into question when your concern isn’t handling the primal threat to physical wellbeing. The threat that the shooting in the courtroom posed was not only disastrous for the accused but also for the sense of security for the judges, lawyers, policemen, staff workers, and civilians.

The gang taking law into their own hands didn’t flinch on murdering their rival in cold blood, which raises questions over the efficacy of police. The lawyers’ attire provided a great camouflage for the miscreants but the presence of arms inside the court complex isn’t something to get excused for. A simple frisking with a single entry and exit point could have prevented the disaster. The complex has the least number of CCTV cameras in all the courts of the capital. 

These facts account for the unprecedented ongoing and negligence of the same,  in the district police departments, which are responsible for the security of the courts. After the Dhanbad incident where a Judge was murdered in broad daylight, the Supreme Court took suo-motu cognizance of the security of judges and court premises. Given the apex court’s decision just a week ago of the shooting, security reviews were conducted and the loopholes were highlighted but to no avail.

Article 21 of the constitution of India provides that no accused shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established law which is just, fair and reasonable.

The murder of the infamous gangster defies the fundamental right to life accorded by the constitution to the accused and even though some extremists group might think it’s lesser of a loss, the reality is that it’s as tragic as it can be. This death might not be under the purview of custodial death as defined by the National Human Rights Commission, but the huge lapse could equate with negligence and translate as an unconscious contempt for the accused.

“I felt it was a terrorist attack. So many shots were fired and we were scared and feared for our lives”

Advocate, A.P. Singh (present at the site of the incident)

The justice redressal system even though slow has been promising and fruitful for the democracy of our nation. These incidents might bruise the beliefs and trust of some on the same, but the unwavering spirit of millions still stays intact on the system. For the sake of the same trust, these incidents must be given their due diligence and should be prevented at all costs.

“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.”

– Aung San Suu Kyi

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