CJI seeks special force for protecting judges

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Friday sought a special protection force to protect judges in the country in the light of rising instances of attacks, threats and intimidation of members of the judiciary.“Too many trial court judges are being attacked. The way things are happening in this country…we need a special force for the courts so that judges can function freely and independently,” Ramana observed while speaking in a case that the court has instituted suo motu regarding safety and security of judges in the aftermath of the death of a Dhanbad judge.The said additional judge, Uttam Anand was run over by an auto while on a morning walk on July 28 in what appeared on CCTV footage as adeliberate hit and run case.“Anti-social elements are entering the courts. Gangsters and high-profile persons are sending threats and abusive messages to judges,” the CJI said, citing his administrative experience in dealing with such matters.Judges in criminal cases are especially vulnerable, he observed. “The judge has no one to complain to. Even if he complains there is no response. In civil cases, the judge manages to somehow deal with these issues.”In this context, Ramana specifically referred to the failure of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other security agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to address this issue.“When complaints have been referred to the CBI, it has done nothing,” he said.Talking of the Dhanbad incident, the CJI said the state government was well aware of the fact that a “coal mafia” operates there but it did nothing to protect the judge. “The state government did nothing.”Jharkhand government, through advocate general Rajiv Ranjan, contested this, saying the state had built boundary walls around the court complexes in an attempt to beef up security. Additional security has been assigned to judges, it said.Ranjan also said the state had set up a 22-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) and arrested the driver and helper of the auto that ran over judge Anand. “Now the case has gone to the CBI,” Ranjan said. The CJI, however, said walls alone were not enough to protect judges and accused the state government of washing its hands of the case by handing it over to the CBI.The court eventually adjourned the case for a further hearing on Monday.
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