Tamil Nadu govt declares Madras HC as high-security zone

Tamil Nadu govt declares Madras HC as high-security zone
CHENNAI: Madras high court has been declared as a high security zone by Tamil Nadu government, four days after the first court hall presided over by Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul came under a day-long audacious siege by a group of lawyers demanding declaration of Tamil as official language of the court.

A government order (GO) declaring principal seat of the court in Chennai as well as its Madurai bench as high security zones was issued just a day before the first bench of Chief Justice Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam is to hear its suo motu proceedings concerning security cover for the high court.

Stung by the sit-in protest by lawyers that lasted the entire day and ended with their arrest and remand in judicial custody on Monday, the bench had cited a 2007 circular issued by the Centre asking all states to declare their respective high courts as high security zones. Tamil Nadu government had largely ignored the circular, till Monday when the court directed it to declare so immediately. The court has also ordered CISF security cover for the high court campuses, in an apparent expression of no-confidence on state police which had shown reluctance to crack down on protesting lawyers, ‘perhaps due to their past experiences,’ as the court had put it.

The unruly scenes unleashed by three busloads of advocates brought from Madurai to the principal campus in Chennai on Wednesday, as a show of strength by Madurai Bar when its two top office-bearers were being tried for contempt of court, too have expedited the process of declaring the court campuses as high security zones, according to officials privy to the development.

On Friday, the court will expect the Centre to give a time frame for taking over security detail of the high court from the state police.

Two quick events involving lawyers who had clearly intended to disrupt judicial proceedings in a span of three days, have come as the proverbial last straw for the high court to get the campus a more efficient, more professional and neutral CISF cover. In its order on Monday, the court had cited representations from the Bar, secret report by the jurisdictional assistant commissioner of police and inputs from others including judges to come to the conclusion that CISF alone could give effective protection to the higher judiciary whose functioning had been disrupted by frequent lawyer agitations.

High security zone means enhanced security measures, more stringent access control than ever and enforcement of such details as verification of identity, entry by only authorized persons and maintenance of certain number of personnel on duty at all times.


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