CISF to guard Madras High Court: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the Madras High Court order for deployment of CISF by replacing state police security at its Chennai premises, which has recently witnessed unruly scenes caused by lawyers paralysing normal work.

It said nobody, including the lawyers, can be allowed to hold to ransom the institution which has to remain 'effective' by maintaining its 'integrity' and 'dignity.'

The apex court made it clear it was not going to examine the issue at the instance of the state government which has filed an appeal against the High Court order of October 30.

"The Chief Justice (of the High Court) and judges are entitled to say that the police is ineffective. You cannot allow the institution to be held to ransom. We will not allow this to happen," a bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and P C Panth said.

"They (judges) felt they are totally insecure with the local police. They have asked CISF to step in. If CISF also fails then other forces may be asked to be called," it said.

The bench did not agree with the arguments of Tamil Nadu Government counsel and senior advocate L Nageshwar Rao that paying an hefty amount of Rs 36 crore per year to the Centre for deploying CISF would be a problem and, further, deputing central force would affect the morale of the state police. He said there would also be a language issue with the CISF at the High Court campus which is visited daily by 15,000 lawyers.

Brushing aside the arguments, the bench recalled the incident of September 14 and said "people don't allow the institution to work. They (lawyers) squat with their children and female members of the family in the courtroom. What is all this happening?"

The bench told the counsel that the Tamil Nadu Government could go to the High Court and advance all arguments about the language problem and the morale of the state police.

"Go back to the High Court and point out the difficulties," the bench said and added "we don't want to handle the security issue of the High Court. High Court is competent to handle it itself. If High Court feels that there is inadequate security it can certainly ask for CISF cover."

The apex court bench criticised the role of the state's Advocate General and leaders of the laywers' associations who did not play their role when advocates were shouting slogans inside the High Court premises.

"The institution's integrity and dignity cannot be compromised," it said, adding that when the September 14 incident was happening, other lawyers were mute spectators. The High Court on October 30 had ordered deployment of CISF after it had taken up suo motu a PIL in the wake of unruly scenes and obstruction caused by lawyers agitating to demand declaration of Tamil as the court's official language and over contempt proceedings against two Madurai-based Bar leaders in September.

The High Court had said the new security system by CISF should be operational in the court by November 16 and the state government should deposit within a week Rs 16.6 crore as sought by the Centre towards deployment of 650 personnel for a period of six months.

On October 14 last, the court had ordered that the "inner circle" of its campuses here and Madurai should be brought under CISF protection as a temporary measure and directed the state and central governments to jointly formulate a security protocol.

The state government had said agencies of state and central governments could not work together and the state police was best placed to handle the job.

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