States in better position to protect judges, Centre tells SC


The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that state governments and police forces will be in a better position to deal with the protection of judges and court complexes, as threats are state-specific.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that the Central government had issued guidelines, in 2007, regarding protection of judges and court complexes.

Emphasising that instead of creating a specialised police force, there is a need to ensure fuller implementation of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ guidelines for states and Union Territories, he said that the security of courts is better left to states, as it requires day to day coordination with the local police.

Mehta’s response came after the top court queried whether it is possible to have a specialised national force for judges’ security on the lines of the RPF, the CISF etc.

Noting that Centre has issued guidelines, the bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose said that the question is whether these guidelines are followed for protection of judges, courts etc or not.

“You are the Central government. You can call DGPs. You are the best person to get this done. States are saying they don’t have funds for CCTVs etc… these issues you have to resolve between you and states,” the bench observed.

Mehta said that security problems which Himachal Pradesh faces may be different than that of Jharkhand, and therefore the force has to be state-specific, not Centre-specific. He contended that it may not be advisable to have a national level security force for judges as state level cadre will come into these specialised forces. Policing is a state subject, but Centre has an inbuilt model which the states have to follow, he said.

Citing states which have filed a response in the matter, the bench noted states say CCTV cameras are not there. “CCTV will do what? They cannot prevent the crime or terrorism or threats to the judiciary. It can only record the crime,” it said.

The top court observed that it had granted last opportunity to states, for filing affidavits in connection with protection of judges, yet many have not responded. It granted 10 days to states to file response in the matter where it has taken suo motu cognizance after the murder of Dhanbad’s Additional District Judge.