SC puts onus on states to check mob lynching, vigilantism
04 July 2018
The Supreme Court has said mob lynching and vigilantism are law and order issues and whatever the reason for a mob lynching, it doesn't matter - lynching is a crime.
The apex court also put the onus on checking such law and order issues on states and said it plans to issue guidelines to the centre as well as all states on how to deal with this grisly phenomenon
The Supreme Court, however, reserved its verdict on pleas seeking directions to formulate guidelines to curb such violence, saying no one can take the law into their hands.
Whatever may be the cause of lynching, whether it is cow vigilantism or because people believe someone is a child lifter, it doesn't matter, these are acts of violence, the court observed.
The centre, in its submission, told the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court that mob lynching is a law and order problem and the court may deal with the state governments if they are not following its order.
The Supreme Court had, on 6 September last year, asked all state governments to take stern measures to stop violence in the name of cow protection, including appointment of senior police officers as nodal officer in every district within a week and act promptly to check cow vigilantes from behaving like they are "law unto themselves".
The apex court also sought response from Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments on a plea seeking contempt action for not following its order to take stern steps to stop violence in the name of cow vigilantism.
The contempt petition has been filed by Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, saying the three states have not complied with the top court order of September 6 last year.
Social media rumours about child-lifters have claimed several lives by mob lynching in Maharashtra. Just on Sunday, five people were lynched - despite police intervention - by a group of men visiting Dhule village in north Maharashtra. According to police, there were rumours for the last few days that a gang of child lifters was active in the area.
In Tamil Nadu's Perumampatti village in Trichy district, two men narrowly escaped from being lynched when they were beaten up by villagers on suspicion that they were child lifters.
So far, there have been 13 incidents of lynching related to rumours circulated through WhatsApp about suspected child lifters and kidnappers - resulting in the murders of 27 people, in less than two months.
Last month, two Muslim men were lynched in Jharkhand on suspicion of cattle theft. In March, a Jharkhand fast track court convicted 11 men, including a district BJP leader and local gau raksha samiti members, for lynching a meat trader.
Also last month, a frenzied mob lynched a man and critically injured his friend over rumours of cow slaughter in Hapur in Uttar Pradesh.