As lawyers abstained from work in various parts of the country on Monday to protest against triple blasts that rocked district courts in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court premises was buzzing with activity, perhaps unmindful of the threat posed from terrorists.
Three days after the blasts at courts in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad, security continued to be lax at the Supreme Court. The x-ray machine installed at one of the main entrance gates, meant for lawyers and litigants, is in an unworkable condition for months. Even the doorframe metal detectors were there just for namesake.
Security men posted at the main gate from where cars enter did not bother checking the vehicles with their inverted mirrors. Those in black robes continued to walk in without frisking while security personnel manning the gate showed their seriousness to those who did not look like lawyers.
Supreme Court Secretary General VK Jain admitted that the existing security system is inadequate for the premises. He, however, said that the registry has taken a final decision to issue access cards to the registered advocates of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
On the direction of the Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan, access cards will soon be issued to lawyers who will have to display them while entering the court premises. Earlier, the bar association had protested against issuance of cards. But, it appears that the agreement has come in wake of the blasts.
What is alarming is that the Supreme Court, which according to the intelligence agencies is on the radar of terrorists, does not even have a bomb disposal squad.
Although there are plans to purchase one, it is pending with a committee that was constituted to take a final decision on the better security equipments required to augment the security apparatus in the Supreme Court premises.
Jain said: "The committee is examining the response that we received to the tender and its members are testing the equipment."