Scroll Top

RISING THREAT TO JUDGES ACROSS INDIA

INTRODUCTION

Physical assaults on judicial officials have increased recently. If parties do not receive a favourable order, there are occasionally coordinated attacks in the press and social media against judges. These attacks seem to be coordinated and sponsored. In numerous cases across the nation involving criminals and prominent and powerful accusers, they intimidate judges by sending nasty messages and spying on their computer accounts. The growing frequency of media trials is another factor that has an impact on the impartial operation and independence of the judiciary. Although new media tools have tremendous magnifying power, they don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between good and terrible, real and phoney, or right and wrong. Case decisions cannot be made based on media trials. The Supreme Court raised to worry about a risky trend where high-profile individuals and gangsters begin defaming judges when they do not receive the order they want.

ATTACK ON JUDGES ACROSS INDIA

The lawyers have argued that the institutions should be permitted to operate independently following the Indian Constitution rather than being subject to the compulsion, influence, and tyranny of those in positions of authority if the democracy in the State is to remain intact. In support of this, the attorneys noted the Supreme Court’s current involvement in the case of the Jharkhand judge who was killed in broad daylight and the Apex Court’s subsequent suo moto cognizance of the situation. As a result, the attorneys have petitioned the Chief Justice to treat recent disruptions and threats made against judges equally by taking suo moto cognizance of the same, as has been done in earlier cases, to foster a secure environment in which judges and lawyers can work without fear. Thus, the attorneys have pleaded with the Chief Justice for prompt action. Following the arrest of a person in Tamil Nadu in connection with the hijab verdict and the death threats made against the three judges of the Karnataka High Court, including the Chief Justice, his government has decided to provide them with “Y category” security, according to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday.[1] Despite the involvement of specialised agencies like the CBI, a bench chaired by former  Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana expressed regret that judges’ grievances are not taken seriously by the investigating authorities. The bench stated that the Centre and states have yet to submit their statements outlining how they will guarantee security inside and outside the courthouse about a 2019 lawsuit relating to the safety of judges and courthouses. In this context, it requested that the AG produce an appropriate affidavit from the Union government.[2]

CHALLENGES FACED

The former  CJI stated that as the nation advances as a democracy, the Constitution provides plenty of room for modification in response to the new problems and enduring challenges facing the court. In order to meet every issue that arises, the court must be fast to adapt and adaptable, according to former Justice Ramana.[3] The CJI refuted charges that judges choose judges while praising the government for the nominations of various justices. Authorities including the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Intelligence Bureau, and state police forces decided to dismiss concerns from judges about abusive communications and threats.

VARIOUS OTHER INCIDENTS IN INDIA

For reportedly threatening to kill the judges of the Karnataka High Court who upheld the ban on the hijab at educational institutions, three people have been arrested in Tamil Nadu. According to the police, three members of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) were charged with uttering disparaging remarks against the court’s decision in the hijab controversy. The Thowheed  Jamath allegedly shouted offensive statements at a public gathering they organised in the Koripalayam neighbourhood on Friday to protest the verdict, according to police. Soon after, a complaint was made against the three officials on the grounds that the organisers had threatened the judges of the Karnataka high court with death.[4] The letter refers to the threat issued to the Special Judge in West Bengal and the incident where Senior Advocate and former Congress MLA Arunava Ghosh, who is also the President of the Calcutta High Court Bar Association had threatened Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, in a spat inside Courtroom that was recorded on video. Earlier, the issue relating to the threat to the Special Judge was mentioned before the Supreme Court. By giving the matter to the CBI, the court questioned whether Jharkhand had “washed its hands off” of any duty for looking into the open killing of Jharkhand judge Uttam Anand. The judge’s death, according to the court, was brought on by the Jharkhand government’s “negligence” to safeguard its judges. The State administration, according to the CJI, decided to disregard threats made against judges like Mr. Anand, who was serving in the Dhanbad district, where the powerful coal mafia rules.[5]

Kochi: The state administration claimed before the Kerala High Court on Thursday that there was a perception of a threat to the lives of the High Court judges, the NIA judge, and other trial court judges in Kerala. J. Christopher Charles Raj, SP (security), added that they had 24-hour security from the police.[6] In February 2021, the Karnataka High Court issued a contempt notice to a 72-year-old man who had threatened to kill two corrupt judges as part of the “highly corrupt 28 Judges of this Court and the Apex Court along with two corrupt Advocates,” according to the man’s letter to the High Court’s registry. In 2020 The YSR Congress Party cadres who made derogatory comments about the courts became the subject of a criminal defamation complaint. In 2017 Police inspector RG Parmar of Gandhidham A Division is accused of intimidating additional district judge Virat Budhha in the Kutch district of Gandhidham. The judicial officer refused to meet Parmar in his chamber on the grounds of the Gandhidham court, so the PI allegedly went there with a stick and threatened the judge.[7]

RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENT

The Union Government told the Supreme Court: “Police and public order are state subjects. It can only provide some guidelines, which it has already done. It is the state government’s responsibility to provide security to judges and court facilities.” List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution covers public order and police, hence the States/UTs concerned are responsible for protecting the courts and judges.[8] However, the MHA has released recommendations for the security of the high courts and the district/subordinate courts to reinforce the security measures in this regard.

State Government’s Response:

The state government stated, “It is committed to providing the necessary security to members of the judiciary so that they may function independently without fear of intimidation.” The state government provided details of the actions taken over the last three years to protect the 24 district courts and sub-divisional courts under their jurisdiction. According to perceived threats, the state has a duty to safeguard and provide for the security and safety of state residents as well as judges.[9]The state administration claimed to have improved security by measures such as elevating the border wall, installing concertina wire, securing lock-ups, and building guard rooms, watch towers, and sentry posts in several court locations.[10]

CONCLUSION

Law enforcement agencies must actively combat such harmful attacks, especially specialised agencies. It is regrettable that the authorities typically do not move further with the inquiry unless the Court intervenes and issues directives. Governments are expected and required to establish a safe atmosphere so that judges and other judicial officials can work without fear. Establishing a Special Security Unit: The Supreme Court should use its constitutional authority under Article 146 to create a specialised security force to guard the judges and attorneys of the higher and lower courts. For the protection of judges and court locations, a special force similar to the Railway Protection Force could be established under the jurisdiction of the judiciary. Carrying out a security audit: A security audit can reveal existing security flaws and offer the real picture of security. Conduct regular reviews of the judges’, district/subordinate courts’, and high courts’ security arrangements. To protect judges, there should be some security precautions are taken, such as the formation of a specialised organisation akin to the Railway Police Force. Judges should be able to function without fear, according to former  Chief Justice Ramana, hence a safe environment should be created. The Bench requested status reports on the level of security offered to the High Court and lower courts’ judiciary from both the Central and State governments.

Author(s) Name: Devashish Raturi (D.A.V P.G College, Dehradun)

References:

[1] ‘3 booked for issuing death threats to Karnataka HC judges over hijab verdict’(Hindusthan Times,Mar 20, 2022)< https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/3-booked-for-issuing-death-threats-to-karnataka-hc-judges-over-hijab-verdict-101647737688109.html > accessed on 23 september,2022

[2] ‘Attacks, media trials among new threats to judiciary: CJI N V Ramana’(Business Standard,December 26, 2021)< https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/attacks-media-trials-among-new-threats-to-judiciary-cji-n-v-ramana-121122600424_1.html >accessed on 23 september,2022

[3] Ibid

[4]‘3 booked for issuing death threats to Karnataka HC judges over hijab verdict’(Hindusthan Times,Mar 20, 2022)< https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/3-booked-for-issuing-death-threats-to-karnataka-hc-judges-over-hijab-verdict-101647737688109.html > accessed on 23 september,2022

[5] ‘Attack on judges’(JournalsOfIndia , September 9, 2021),< https://journalsofindia.com/attack-on-judges/ > accessed on 23 september,2022

[6] ‘Threats to lives of High Court, NIA Judges: Kerala’(DECCAN CHRONICLE, Nov 22, 2013)

< https://www.deccanchronicle.com/131122/news-current-affairs/article/threats-lives-high-court-nia-judges-kerala  > accessed on 23 september,2022

[7] ‘Attack on judges’(JournalsOfIndia , September 9, 2021),< https://journalsofindia.com/attack-on-judges/ > accessed on 23 september,2022

[8] Ibid

[9] ‘Attack on judges’(JournalsOfIndia , September 9, 2021),< https://journalsofindia.com/attack-on-judges/ > accessed on 23 september,2022

[10]Ibid