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Court Orders Security to Lawyers of Ayodhya Title Suit

The Allahabad High Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh and the central governments to improve security arrangements of three judges, who pronounced the judgement in the Ayodhya title suit, and the lawyers involved in the case.

The order was passed by the Luckhnow bench of justices Devi Prasad Singh and Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya on Thursday on a writ petition filed by a local lawyer Ranjana Agnihotri, who was associated with the Ayodhya suit.

The bench fixed January 15 as the date of filing the compliance report.

The court order came in the wake of the report submitted by the Intelligence Bureau regarding threat perception to the three judges and the lawyers.

"The IB report reveals that recce of the Bench was done even before the delivery of the judgement and later on SIMI activists chalked out a plan to eliminate not only the judges, but also the advocates who appeared in the Ram Janam Bhumi-Babri Masjid case," the court said.

According to the IB report, SIMI activists have joined hands with Indian Mujahideen to make their plan successful, it said.

The court observed that the report of IB indicates the nature of threat emanating from IED and rapid fire, beside other such devices.

"The use of explosive material and petrol tanker has also not been ruled out. Accordingly, the IB recommended that appropriate security may be provided since there is imminent threat to the judges," it said.

The court directed that Justice S U Khan and (Retired) Justice D V Sharma be provided Z category security with improved arrangements.

It said that the state government shall provide necessary assistance as well as infrastructure to central security agency personnel posted at their residences.

The Bench directed that Justice Sudhir Agarwal be provided Z+ category security.

"Let central government take appropriate decision and substitute present security arrangements by personnel of its own agency with Z+ category security within a period of one month. Till then present security arrangement shall continue," it directed.

The court said that the central security agency shall also take into account and make arrangements to provide security to the children of Justice Agarwal, if necessary, in terms of their own information in consultation with Justice Sudhir Agarwal.

The Bench said that security would continue with the Judges even after they retire and shall not be withdrawn unless permitted by the court.

It directed that all advocates against whom there threat perception has been noticed and whose names have been referred by the IB as well as ADG (Security) in their reports should be provided with two plain-clothed security personnel for day and night.

On security of two lawyers P N Mishra and Amitabh Shukla, it directed the state of West Bengal to look into the matter and provide appropriate security in effective consultation with the lawyers in terms of the IB report.

Regarding security to MP Ravi Shankar Prasad, K N Bhatt and R P Mehrotra, who are practising advocates at Delhi, was concerned, it directed that Centre as well as Delhi government shall look into matter and take appropriate steps keeping in view the threat perception.

"Let compliance report be submitted to this court by the state government as well as the Centre by January 15," it directed.

"Petition shall be listed on January 15 for the purpose of monitoring and perusal of the action taken report to be submitted by the Centre as well as the state."

" Respondents shall file affidavit along with compliance report. With the aforesaid directions, we decide the writ petition finally," the bench said.

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