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SC curtails interns' entry after 'escalated threat perception' following Yakub Memon hanging

Code red at the Supreme Court
Code red at the Supreme Court

After in August 2013 banning interns from its premises on Mondays and Fridays - miscellaneous days - in order to fight overcrowding, the Supreme Court now plans to ban interns from entering the “high security” zone inside the court for security reasons after the Supreme Court had received a bomb threat earlier this month.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) met with Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu after its president Dushyant Dave’s campaign to improve infrastructure of the bar, also discussing security precautions which had been escalated after Justice Dipak Misra had received a written threat at his residence after declining to stay the death sentence of Yakub Memon.

According to its Facebook page (hat-tip, Mohit Singh), the SCBA warned its members to be vigilant and that it would cooperate with the request to stop the entry of law students and visitors for consultation purposes to the court’s “high security zone”:

Respected Members may kindly note that the Executive Committee of SCBA had a detailed meeting today with the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, at his residence from 1730 hrs to 1830 hrs, where several issues of importance were discussed in extremely cordial and informal manner. We are happy to inform the Members that the Hon’ble CJI was very receptive and positive about all the infrastructural issues raised by us and assured his full support and cooperation towards their expeditious redressal.

Members may also kindly note that in view of the escalated threat perception being faced by the Supreme Court, the Hon’ble CJI sought our cooperation in efforts to curtail/limit the number of visitors in the high security zone and informed us that as per the inputs of experts, he proposed to completely stop the entry of interns/law students and visitors for the purpose of consultation, inside the high security zone. The Executive Committee was explained the supervening and compelling circumstances necessitating these measures and we accepted the proposal of the Hon’ble CJI and assured our full cooperation to ensure stronger safety for the Supreme Court of India.

In this background, it has been decided by the Executive Committee that to avoid hardships to Members of the Bar, no fee/charge will be levied on the Members for the first half an hour, for the Consultation rooms/cubicles in Setalwad and Daphtry Chamber Blocks, for a period of 1 month from tomorrow. All Members may use these rooms/cubicles for consultation. Members are also requested to be very careful and discerning before issues pass slips to clients/visitors and not leave it to be given out by their office/clerks, so that there is no possibility of misuse.

Members are again requested to be extra cautious and report any suspicious activity/article immediately to the undersigned or the Control Room, Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Supreme Court Security at Telephone No.011-23381960. The Bar, like an equal participant, can play a very significant and crucial role in the safety and security of the Supreme Court of India, by being more vigilant. [emphasis added]

IANS reported:

"The threat mail was received at the court's official email on Monday afternoon. The mail was written in English threatening to blow up court building after the recent judgement on Yakub Memon's hanging," police sources said on Tuesday.

The sources said the email was delivered to the court's official email id.

"The security at the court complex has been beefed up. The case has been forwarded to the Special Cell and Cyber Cell who along with the district police are trying to trace the source of the mail," the sources added.

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