Supreme Court: While addressing the issue pertaining to the unfortunate demise of the Judicial Officer Uttam Anand, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, CJ., Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, JJ., emphasized the institutional need to create a safe and secure environment for judicial officers and legal fraternity.

A suo motu case was registered by the Supreme Court for addressing the issue of safeguarding courts and protecting judges. Noticeably, the issue came into limelight after an unfortunate incident that took place on 30-07-2021, when an Additional Sessions Judge posted at Dhanbad was hit by an autorickshaw and he died as a result of the injuries caused to him.

The gruesome incident had been widely reported in newspapers, and video clippings of the incident were also being circulated on social media platforms, suggesting that it was not a case of simplicitor road accident. Noticing that the High Court of Jharkhand had already took cognizance of the nature of the incident and had initiated necessary action to ensure that the State Government protects the law and order situation within and outside the Court premises; the Supreme Court had decided to deal with the seriousness of the issue and its larger ramifications.

However, the Bench had made its intention not to interfere with the ongoing proceedings before the High Court clear. Considering the fact that similar incidents were happening across the country, the Bench had reminded the State its duty and obligation to create an environment and accord full protection to judicial officers as well as the legal fraternity so that they can perform their duties fearlessly.

Opining that there was an urgent need for wider consideration and consequential detailed explanation(s) by all concerned, a notice was issued to all other States and Union Territories in this regard. Additionally, by its recent order the Supreme Court had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to file a report before the High Court of Jharkhand every week and a further request was made to the Chief Justice of the said High Court to monitor the investigation with regard to the sad demise of Judicial Officer Shri Uttam Anand.

Considering the alarming situation in the country where judicial officers and lawyers are being pressurized and intimidated by threats of, and/or actual violence, the Bench emphasized on institutional need to create an environment where judicial officers feel safe and secure.[Safeguarding Courts and Protecting Judges (Death of Additional Sessions Judge, Dhanbad): In Re, Suo Motu Writ Petition (Crl.) No. 2 of 2021, decided on 09­-08­-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court:

For Petitioner(s): By Courts Motion
For Respondent(s): Mr. K.K. Venugopal, AG, Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG, Ms. Suhashini Sen, Adv., Mr. Sidhant Kohli, Adv., Mr. Rajat Nair, Adv., Mr. Kanu Agrawal, Adv., Mr. Arvind Kumar Sharma, AOR,

For State: Mr. Rajiv Ranjan, Advocate General, Mr. Arunabh Chowdhury, AAG, Mr. Krishnaraj Thaker, AAG, Ms. Pragya Baghel, Adv., Ms. Pallavi Langar, AOR, Mr. Kumar Anurag Singh, Adv., Mr. V. K. Biju, AOR, Mr. Amlendu Kumar Akhilesh Kumar Jha, Adv., Mr. Shaji George, Adv.

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