The Madras High Court on Friday called upon the court's Security Commission to review security arrangements at its premises following a peace march on Thursday. The peace march to commemorate Martyr's Day, carried out by lawyers and three former Justices of the Madras High Court was termed 'unfortunate' by the court. The Security Committee was asked to coordinate with the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu as well as top officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
The court took a serious view of the incident even as Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing suo motu a writ petition pertaining to common security arrangements for premises in and around the High Court. Noting that the Supreme Court is already considering the proposal to deploy paramilitary force in high courts around the country, the court referred to a letter from Deputy Commissioner of Police, High Court Security. The letter stated that senior advocates and three former Justices of the Madras High Court— Hariparanthaman, Kannan and Akbar— had walked in procession to North Gate, and proceeded to enter the court, ending their march at the Ambedkar statue in its premises.
The letter alleged, “They were stopped and advised for their unauthorized activities. But they refused to hear the Police Officers who were on duty.”
On Friday, the court said, “Having noticed the said incident reported, what is of more concern is that the incident involves and names three former High Court Judges of having entered the premises and joined the protest that was going on.”
Asserting that the incident requires 'immediate concern to be taken up on the administrative side', the court further said, “The gravity of the said incident, therefore, puts on guard the entire judicial system, as this may have a large impact on the future security measures that may be required to be undertaken by the High Court.”
The court requested the Security Committee of the High Court to “take up the matter urgently along with its suggestions and report the matter back for taking appropriate action on the judicial side or otherwise by the next date fixed.”
The court recorded the Advocate General's submission that with 500 chambers of lawyers on campus, adjustments may have to be made for their clients. It is also noted the Additional Solicitor General of India's submission that CISF security measures have not been standardised on 'account of two zones of operation within the premises'.
“The coordination, therefore, being lacking and the same standard not being deployed may be a cause of concern in future. He, therefore, submits that the operational systems to be followed have to be synchronized in a manner that the security of the entire premises, keeping in view the threat perceptions that keep on arising and taking into concern such other incidents, have to be standardised.” the court observed.
Significantly, the court 'instructed' reporting agencies in its orders on Friday 'not to report anything beyond what is recorded in the order, so as to create any misconception or confusion.'