Keeping in mind the security of court premises, the Allahabad High Court has prohibited raising of banners and posters in the court premises, during elections to the High Court Bar Association.
The issue was brought to the attention of the court by the Registrar (Protocol), in suo moto proceedings relating to security and protection in all court campuses in the state.
The report filed in this behalf pointed out that banners raised during elections, whether that of Advocates or employees of the high court, obstruct and cover CCTV cameras, obstructing visual reporting and recording and ultimately compromising with security arrangements.
Therefore, vide order dated January 28, the bench of Justices Sudhir Agarwal and Suneet Kumar ordered that no candidate shall be allowed to affix any banner in the entire Court premises and contempt proceedings will be initiated against anyone found to be in violation of this direction.
The bench further clarified,
"such candidate(s) who himself has got such banners and posters installed or for whose benefit the same is installed or if such banner and posters is installed by a person even unconnected with election, his candidature shall be liable to be cancelled in such election. In matters of defiance, this Court may also pass order banning entry in Court premises for such period as it deem fit and proper."
Inter alia, the court has also confined distribution of handbills to the premises of respective Bar Associations. It ordered,
"In respect of employees it is completely prohibited in Court premises. In respect of any other body of individuals working in the institution, if any elections etc. are held, they are also prohibited from using and distributing any handbills or affixing or raising banners, porters etc. in Court premises. Any defiance shall be treated to be deliberate defiance liable for criminal contempt and imposition of fine."
The directions have been passed in suo moto PIL titled In Re Suo Moto Relating To Security And Protection In All Court Campuses In The State Of U.P., initiated after the incident of open firing in Bijnor district court.
Vide orders dated December 20, 2019 and January 2, 2020, the High Court had passed a slew of directions to ensure adequate security in court premises.
Subsequently, vide order dated January 17, the high court recorded progress in the matter. It took on record a Compliance affidavit, filed by Additional Chief Secretary to the State, viz. installation of CCTV cameras, appointment of designated Quick Response Teams, restricted entry of vehicles in court premises, construction of boundary walls, etc.
Thereby, the court was also informed that a 'Special Security Force' is being constituted to protect District Courts premises and other vital installations of State.
"Process of recruitment shall be completed by U.P. Police Recruitment and Promotion Board and thereafter training shall be imparted to the Members selected and appointed. For this purpose, two months period is required for formation and two years for recruitment, training, deployment and posting," the affidavit read.
The court however deprecated repeated explanations in justification of delay in implementation of immediate security measures and said that ultimately, it is the cause of security, which is suffering.
"No amount of explanation, in our view, may be allowed to dominate when objective is security of judicial works in the District Judgeships as that has to be given paramount importance. Therefore, whether it is availability of requisite funds or observance of bureaucratic procedure or execution of work the ultimate responsibility is upon State and it has to ensure completion of requisite work necessary for security purpose in District Judgeships within a reasonable time which cannot be extended to suit the laxity of system," the court remarked.
These remarks assume relevance in context with the recent incident of firing that occurred at the Mainpuri District Judgeship.
On January 6, a 30-year-old accused in a triple murder case shot himself in the Court of Additional District Judge. As per the report of Superintendent of Police, checking/frisking of the accused, his wife and maternal uncle was not done by Police personnel posted at entry gate.
An FIR has been lodged in the matter and 7 Police Constables, 2 Inspectors and 1 Sub-Inspector have been suspended.
The matter will now be taken up on February 27, 2020.
Click Here To Download OrderDated January 17
Click Here To Download OrderDated January 28
Read Order Dated January 17
Read Order Dated January 28