Apex court wants 'well strategised' Coast Guard
New Delhi, March 21 : Batting for a well "strategised Coast Guards" to guard the country's coastline, the Supreme Court Thursday said the three-layer security system involving the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and custom officials had failed to live up to task and prevent the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.
"This triple-layered security system is created primarily to guard the Indian coastline from maritime terrorism, piracy and to keep out foreign intruders. Hence, it is the paramount duty of all these officials to be vigilant, heedful and attentive to each activity which occurs in the sea and on the shore," the court said.
"However, the occurrence of Bombay bomb blasts on 12th March 1993 discloses the deficient performance of the officials," said the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan in one of their judgments on cross appeals by the convicted accused and the Maharashtra government in the case.
The court said the Indian Coast Guard was set up in 1978 as a paramilitary branch of the armed forces primarily for surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone to prevent poaching, smuggling and other illegal activities.
The Coast Guard being the strongest link in the security chain is bound to be vigilant at sea and should be in full command of the coast, the court said.
"As the perception of war is changing, we should not overlook the role and the significance of the coast guards and the customs officials in combating terrorism," the court said.
"The role of the coast guards," the court said, "is as important as any military troops. Only well strategised coast guards and high morale customs officers can prevent any opportunity for the terrorists to attack on our country via our maritime boundary."