Lynchings: Supreme Court seeks response from Centre, NHRC, States

July 2018 judgement had condemned the increasing number of incidents of mob lynchings as “horrendous acts of mobocracy”.

July 26, 2019 05:34 pm | Updated 05:37 pm IST - NEW DELHI



The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Central government, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State governments to a plea seeking the implementation of its July 2018 judgement laying down several preventive, remedial and punitive measures to combat the crime of lynching .

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the Centre and several States, including Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir on a plea by NGO Anti-Corruption Council of India.

The NGO also sought a law to be enacted by Parliament to make lynching a cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offence, which has to be tried by a court of law in a time-bound manner.

The July 2018 judgement had condemned the increasing number of incidents of mob lynchings across the country as “horrendous acts of mobocracy”. The court even then asked Parliament to make lynching a separate offence.

The 45-page judgement, by a three-judge Bench led by then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had wondered whether the “populace of a great Republic like ours has lost the values of tolerance to sustain a diverse culture?”

The court had observed that the recent litany of spiralling mob violence, their horror, the grim and gruesome scenes of lynchings were made worse by the apathy of the bystanders, numbness of the mute spectators, inertia of the police and, finally, the “grandstanding of the incident by the perpetrators of the crimes” on social media.

“Creeping threats”

Describing lynchings and mob violence as “creeping threats”, the judgement had warned that the rising wave of frenzied mobs - fed by fake news, self-professed morality and false stories - would consume the country like a “typhoon-like monster”.

The court had held the primary obligation of the government was to protect all individuals irrespective of race, caste, class or religion.“Crime knows no religion and neither the perpetrator nor the victim can be viewed through the lens of race, caste, class or religion,” the judgement said.

The court had directed several preventive, remedial and punitive measures to deal with lynching and mob violence. It ordered the Centre and the States to implement the measures and file compliance reports within the next four weeks. Lynchings cannot become the order of the day.

The several measures which were mooted by the court in the judgment included the setting up of a special task force in the States to procure intelligence reports about the people likely to commit such crimes or involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news.

The court had also directed States to prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme. The cases of lynchings should be exclusively tried by designated court/fast track courts in each district.

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