Assault on Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia: Supreme Court issues notice to Uttar Pradesh govt over non-functioning of CCTV cameras in District Courts

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over non-maintenance of CCTV cameras in the court where Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia was assaulted. 

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud with Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra took note of a report that mentioned that CCTV cameras were not functional at the court. The court noted that reports said that CCTV cameras are not functional despite repeated letters so they cannot preserve the footage.

Consecutively, the Supreme Court ordered that the report be circulated to all the parties and the Bar Council of India (BCI), and issued notice to the state. The court clarified that it was not going to take the matter lightly. Mentioning that no lawyers can compel another to leave the court, CJI DY Chandrachud asserted that they are taking a dim view on the matter.

Meanwhile, Senior Advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Adish Aggarwala too weighed in stating that not even a bar association leader could compel lawyers to observe a strike. Nonetheless, he added that lawyers have the right to request the court for observation of a strike. The Chief Justice disagreed.

The apex court had on March 21 taken suo motu cognisance of the assault on Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia and Advocate Muskan Gupta at a Greater Noida Court. Gaurav Bhatia, who is also a BJP leader, reportedly had his band snatched inside a district court where lawyers were observing a strike.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court issued notice to the President of the Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) Bar Association. It further ordered the district judge to submit a report and ensure that CCTV footage of the incident is preserved pending further orders. The court listed the matter for further hearing on next Monday. Advocate Garima Prashad appeared for Uttar Pradesh. 

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