Both assailants were dressed like lawyers in black blazers, slacks, shoes and white collars. But they stood out like a sore thumb upon entering room number 207 of the Rohini District Court – they did not bow to the judge, carried empty files and put their hands in their pockets.

Next to them was attorney Tushar Mann, who was busy taking mental notes for the bail arguments.

“Something was wrong with them. They were carrying empty files and had their hands in their pockets. Which lawyer carries an empty file in a courtroom? He told the Indian Express.

Additional Sessions Judge Gagandeep Singh had just started hearing regular cases in his courtroom, which had 30 cases registered.

Around 1:15 p.m., gangster Jitender Maan aka Gogi entered the courtroom, accompanied by members of the counterintelligence team. A handful of lawyers were inside the courtroom at the time.

“We all represented the judge, but these two men did not. I thought they had no respect for the law. Then they opened fire. The court staff slipped away, the judge ran to his room. We all ran out of the courtroom. It was chaos, ”Mann recalls.

Eyewitnesses recalled that while some were hiding behind almirahs containing files when the shooting broke out, others froze in their place. Some litigants, for their part, rushed with their children.

“I just lowered myself to my seat. I couldn’t react, ”said a court staff member.

On August 28, ASJ Gagandeep issued production warrants against Gogi and a rival gang co-accused, Sunil Mann. They were among six accused of an attempted murder recorded at Alipur Police Station in 2010.

One of the co-defendants in this case, Arun, was out on bail. His senior lawyer couldn’t come to court, so junior lawyer Nitin was sent instead.

He reached the courtroom early in the morning; it was the first case on the list of causes. “The judge said it was a high security case and he would take over the case later,” Nitin said.

He marked his presence in court and stood outside upon seeing Gogi being produced. The next court date had been set for December, and only Gogi remained to sign the production warrant. He came accompanied by the security guard, his hands clasped tightly by an officer to make sure he did not run away.

“While I was waiting, I heard a lot of gunshots. The police first removed the litigants from the courtroom and the lawyers were later evacuated, ”Nitin said.

Directly opposite the courtroom of ASJ Gagandeep is the courtroom of Judge of Additional Sessions Shivaji Anand.

A crowd of litigants and lawyers stood outside. Among them was lawyer Yogesh Pandey, who had seen Gogi before entering the courtroom.

“We heard the sound of bullets. I tried to flee the area with my juniors. It wasn’t until everything calmed down that we knew it was all over. It is shocking that the attackers came dressed as lawyers, ”he said.

In the evening, members of the Rohini District Courts Association attended a meeting with the DCP (Rohini), DCP (Third Battalion) and the two district judges. “It was a total security breach,” said Rohini Bar Association president Inder Singh Saroha.

Saroha has also raised the issue of security in the past. Indeed, during a meeting Thursday, he raised the issue of metal detector malfunctions. “We need the Delhi High Court security model. In Rohini court, many gang-related cases are heard. There must be a security check of their associates who come to court; vehicles must be checked inside the premises of the court and the passes for litigants are essential. There will now also be a security check of the lawyers, ”Saroha said.

In February 2020, the Delhi High Court heard a petition calling for an increase in the number of police officers in the courts for security purposes. The hearing has not taken place since then due to the pandemic.

The petition also prayed that x-ray machines, CCTV and metal detectors already installed in various district courts would be made operational because they were not working.

And in an order issued on January 28 this year, District and Sessions Senior Justices Suresh Kumar Gupta and Swarana Kanta Sharma set out the protocol to be followed when producing prisoners under trial.

Courts have stressed the need for the physical production of the accused “only when necessary”, and if the procedure can be conducted by exempting detainees on trial, the same should be preferred.