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State cannot take clumsy plea of manpower dearth: DB

Security of retd CJs, Judges, AGs

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 17: While deciding two applications regarding security of retired Chief Justices, Judges and former Advocate General, Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan today said that State cannot be expected to have clumsy plea of dearth of manpower.
Dismissing the application filed by State regarding review of the order vis-à-vis security of judges, the DB observed, “State has filed the present application on the plea that providing 1-4 security guard personnel in three shifts of 8 hours at the residence of each former Chief Justice/Judge of this High Court would mean the State Government has to increase the strength of force by three times, which is not only highly impracticable, but is also not in consonance with the guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs as laid down in the Yellow Book”.
“State is also seeking review/modification of direction relating to extending of security cover to the retired District & Sessions Judges for a period of one year on retirement, besides providing 1-3 security personnel round the clock at the residences of former Advocate Generals of the State on the plea of dearth of manpower”, the DB said, adding “it seems the State has misconstrued the direction in respect of providing of 1-4 security guard personnel in three shifts of 8 hours at the residence of each former Chief Justice/Judge of this High Court”.
After hearing Advocate General for the State whereas Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi for the PIL, the DB further observed, “it simply meant four Constables or Selection Grade Constables headed by one Incharge Head Constable and they have to perform their duties on shift basis and nothing else. The direction never meant to depute 15 security guard personnel at the residence of each former Chief Justice/Judge of this High Court as misconstrued by the State. Similar was the direction in respect of former Advocate Generals of the State”.
“So far as providing of security cover to retired District and Sessions Judges is concerned, we have only directed for providing security cover not on permanent basis, but just for a period of one year on retirement and thereafter their security cover would be as per the report of Security Review Coordination Committee”, the DB further said, adding “judgment of this court delivered in PIL No.1012/2001 is not distinguishable to the facts of present case, as the same related to providing of security cover to a private person who, it was alleged, was misusing the same by harassing the persons in the neighbourhood”.
“Otherwise too, the list of retired police persons, retired civil servants as well as former MLAs/MLCs provided by the counsel for State-respondents in terms of order dated 19.12.2016, reveals that out of 121 former MLAs/MLCs, most of them have been provided with security cover”, the DB said, adding “even retired police officers/civil servants have also been provided such like security cover. Therefore, when it comes to providing of security cover to former Chief Justices/Judges of this High Court as well as former Advocate Generals of the State, who also deal with the cases of militancy related activities, the State cannot be expected to have such like clumsy plea of dearth of manpower”.
With these observations, Division Bench dismissed the review application.
In another application filed by Advocate Summit Nayyar, Division Bench observed, “in terms of order dated 17.03.2016, respondents have not filed the status report with regard to installation of remaining CCTV Cameras in and around the High Court Complex, Jammu/Srinagar as well as District Court Complex, Janipur”.
However, today when the matter was taken up for hearing, it was stated that metal detector machines have been installed only at one entry point of one of the buildings of District Court Complex, whereas there are no metal detector machines at other entry points of the building or the other building(s).
“Since it is not possible to install metal detector machines at every entry point of each building of District Court Complex, respondents are directed to evolve such a mechanism to encircle all the buildings as well as entry points into one circle and at two or three main entry points of the circle install such machines”, the DB said.

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