The CBI and other investigating agencies "do not respond" when lower court judges complain about threats, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said today as the Supreme Court took up the recent murder of a Jharkhand district judge.
In a sharp critique of investigating agencies, the Chief Justice said they "do not help at all" when judges complain and the "CBI has shown no change in its attitude". The court also asked the Centre to respond within a week on a pending petition for protecting judges.
The Chief Justice said there was a trend to malign the judiciary when favourable orders were not passed in high profile cases. "In high profile cases involving gangsters, abusive messages on WhatsApp and Facebook are sent to Judges to mentally harass them," Chief Justice Ramana said.
"The CBI has done nothing. We have expected some change in the CBI's attitude but there is no change. Sorry to say, this is the situation."
When judges complain to the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau on threats, they do not respond, said the top judge.
"Investigating agencies do not help at all and I am making this statement with some sense of responsibility. I am not divulging more. Something has to be done," Chief Justice Ramana said.
District judge Uttam Anand, 49, was killed on July 28 when an auto rammed him while he was on his morning run.
What was first believed to be a hit-and-run turned out to be far more sinister as CCTV footage that emerged online showed the auto going straight for the judge along a deserted stretch of road and hitting him intentionally.
Judge Anand had been handling many cases of mafia killings in Dhanbad and had rejected bail requests from two gangsters. He was also hearing a murder case involving an MLA's close aide.
The Supreme Court took up the case on its own last Friday, saying it had "wider ramifications".
In today's hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal, assisting the court, said many judges received threatening calls from gangsters and adjourned cases by six months. Judges at the district level had to be given protection, he stressed.
The Chief Justice said, "It is an unfortunate case of a young judge (Dhanbad) who lost his life. Dhanbad is a coal mafia area. Despite that, the state did nothing. The state has to provide security."
Chief Justice Ramana also referred to a petition calling for a special protection force for judges and said: "Petitioner alleged that antisocial elements were entering into court premises. He wanted some security measures to be taken by Centre by creating separate force like the Railway Protection Force so that judges can work in an independent environment." The Centre, he said, should respond.