Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Supreme Court asks Parliament to consider separate law to deal with lynch mobs, vigilantes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Parliament to consider enacting a separate law to effectively deal with lynching, saying “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to become a new norm. 

  • Published 17.07.18
  •  
Tehseen Poonawalla addressing the media after the mob lynching case judgment at the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Tuesday. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, Jul 17 (Agencies): The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Parliament to consider enacting a separate law to effectively deal with lynching, saying “horrendous acts of mobocracy” cannot be allowed to become a new norm. 

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud passed a slew of directions to provide “preventive, remedial and punitive measures” to deal with offences such as mob violence and cow vigilantism.

“…we think it appropriate to recommend to the legislature, that is, the Parliament, to create a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same,” the bench said, after passing the directions.

It was the duty of state governments to ensue law and order in society, besides ensuring that the rule of law prevailed, the bench said.

”Citizens cannot take law into their hands and cannot become law unto themselves,” the bench said.

A 32-year-old call centre employee was killed in Karnataka at the weekend after rumours spread that he was a child-kidnapper, the latest in a series of assaults triggered by false messages on social media about kidnappers.

Groups opposed to the slaughter of cows have also targeted cattle traders, mainly Muslims, and others on the suspicion they were eating beef.

”Horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be allowed to become a new norm and has to be curbed with iron hands,” it said, and states cannot turn a deaf ear to such incidents.

The bench asked the legislature to consider enacting a new penal provision to deal with offences of mob violence and provide deterrent punishment to such offenders.

The top court passed the order on a plea seeking formulation of guidelines to curb such violent incidents in the country.

The bench has now posted the public interest litigation, filed by Tushar Gandhi and Tehseen Poonawalla, for further hearing on August 28 and asked the Union and state governments to take steps to deal with such offences in pursuance of its directions.

The chief justice, who pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom, did not read out the measures directed by the court to deal with such offences.

(This report was updated at 6.15pm.)