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Supreme Court warns States on compliance with order on lynchings, cow vigilantism

Holding placards that read “Break the Silence,” “No Place for Islamophobia” and “Shed hate not blood” among others, scores of people gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday to protest against rising cases of mob violence.

Holding placards that read “Break the Silence,” “No Place for Islamophobia” and “Shed hate not blood” among others, scores of people gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday to protest against rising cases of mob violence.

The Supreme Court on September 7 asked the Rajasthan government to come clean about their investigation into the Alwar lynching case where the victim died of his injuries while police officers allegedly took time off to herd his cows to a  gaushala .

The Alwar lynching happened just a few days after the Supreme Court, on July 17, condemned the frequency of lynchings, calling it “horrendous acts of mobocracy” , by cow vigilantes.

An anguished court had directed States to take immediate steps to stop the crime and urged the Parliament to enact an anti-lynching law.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, for activist Tehseen Poonawalla, submitted before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that no chargesheetwas filed and departmental action slid to a stop with the transfer of three police constables.

Additional Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta countered that the State House Officer was suspended and the constables transferred. Three of the four accused have been arrested. A chargesheet would be filed for murder.

The Bench ordered the Rajasthan government to file an affidavit, within one week, on the status of the Alwar probe and what action was taken against the errant police officers.

The court is hearing a plea for contempt petition against the Rajasthan government by Mr. Poonawalla and Tushar Gandhi.

Ms. Jaising drew the Bench’s attention to Rule 3 in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Establishment & Regulation of Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Rules, 2001 which empowered "civil society groups" to protect animals.

She submitted that Rule 3, in fact, provided State accreditation to cow vigilantism. “These organised civil society groups engage in cow vigilantism. These groups are given police power to stop vehicles, search premises and seize animals,” Ms. Jaising submitted.

A shocked Chief Justice asked Ms. Jaising why the Rule 3 was never challenged all these years.

Ms. Jaising said the Bench should ask the States to provide a list of the accredited civil society groups so their members could be easily identified as perpetrators of lynchings. The Bench orally asked Ms. Jaising to challenge Rule 3 and seek disclosure of the details.

The court further realised that only 11 States have filed their compliance reports on the framing of guidelines against lynching and mob violence. The Bench said all the States have to file their compliance within one week or face the prospect of having their Home Secretaries personally summoned to the Supreme Court.

Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal informed the court that an empowered group of ministers are looking into a prospective anti-lynching law.

Twenty-eight-year-old Khan was attacked by cow vigilantes in Alwar district’s Ramgarh area on July 20 when he was leading two cows from Ladpura village to his home to Haryana.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 10:58:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/comply-with-order-on-mob-lynchings-supreme-court-tells-states/article24891447.ece