The Madras High Court today orally observed that CISF security is meant only for industries and not for the high court.
About two years after ordering the deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to insulate the Madras High Court campus from external and internal disturbances, the court seems to be having a rethink on the issue.
The court had issued orders for CISF cover as a temporary arrangement in October, 2015 on a suo motu PIL proceedings initiated after the court witnessed unruly scenes and obstruction caused by lawyers over certain issues.
When the suo motu PIL came up today, Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh, who is heading the first Bench, observed, "I am (working) in this court for about a year now, and there are no terrorist activities warranting CISF."
The Acting CJ said a court premises was for the general public and it should not be like court martial.
When the PIL was taken up, former Madras High Court Advocates Association president Paul Kanagaraj sought revocation of the suspension of nine advocates who allegedly clashed with CISF in the court in November 2015.
The court directed him to file a memo and orally observed that CISF security is only for the industries and not for high court which is meant for general public.
When it was brought to the notice of the Bench that for the CISF cover, the Tamil Nadu government is paying Rs 32 crore per year towards salary component alone, Justice Ramesh said, "If the Centre is keen to provide high security to the court, why should the state government pay."
"Also, if any law and order problem arises, it is for the local police to manage. Everywhere in India, only the respective state police is managing courts."
When assistant solicitor-general of India Su Srinivasan pointed out that Delhi High Court was under CISF security, the bench said, "It may be required there because Delhi is nearer to Pakistan."
Stating that the legal fraternity will fully cooperate with the state police, Paul Kanagaraj said, "The state had paid Rs 66 crore last year for salary of CISF alone, and that accommodation and infrastructure were additional expenses."
He said there was no need to remove the infrastructure, but it could be occupied by state police personnel.
Paul Kanagaraj and Advocate Elephant G Rajendran said the state government should not adopt double standards in the matter. They alleged that the chief secretary of Tamil Nadu wrote to the Centre saying it was unable to manage lawyers.
After Justice Ramesh suggested that Rajendran could move the Supreme Court with regard to payment of Rs 66 crore by the state government for the court security, the latter said he would do so.
Additional advocate-general C Manishankar furnished a report and photographs of under-construction frisking points of the CISF on court campus. The bench after hearing the arguments posted the matter for further hearing to June 5.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)