The Bombay high court on Thursday expressed shock that Mumbai police asked a court that faces a terror threat to make its own security arrangements. “This is such a brazen act,” said the division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice CV Bhadang, commenting on the stand taken by a senior police inspector. “If your police officer receives an (intelligence) input that a court faces a grave terrorist threat, what he does is to write to the registrar of the court to make his own security arrangements and take other necessary measures like installing bag scanners and frisking visitors.”
Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani responded to the comment by saying that the home department had issued orders to all police unit chiefs to provide security to all courts in their respective jurisdictions immediately.
Vagyani said that the issue of providing police security to courts across Maharashtra was discussed at a recent high-level meeting. At the meeting, the government was informed that 3,352 police constables would be needed for this. Vagyani said the cost of the security arrangements was also discussed.
The court was hearing a number of petitions raising concerns about the lack of basic facilities and infrastructure in courts across the state. While hearing the PILs, the court also criticised the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for failing to inform the court whether 14 plots reserved for the judiciary in the earlier development plan had been retained in the revised draft development plan.
The judges noted that the lawyer representing the BMC was not able to answer elementary questions, such as whether the revised draft development plan had been published, and whether the reserved plots had been retained. They also noted that despite an order to the BMC commissioner to file an affidavit clarifying the civic body’s position on the reserved plots, a very vague affidavit was filed on behalf of the commissioner.
“Paragraph three of the affidavit suggests that there are no reservations provided in the revised draft development plan for the judiciary in Mumbai,” the judges said. “Neither the BMC nor the state wants to reserve any plots for the judiciary in Mumbai, as they are the major litigants before the courts here,” they added. The court has now directed the principal secretary, urban development department, to get the necessary information from the BMC and file an affidavit to that effect.